Trash Collection Debate

February 29, 2012

Trash and how it is removed and the area then swept clean is a major cause for concern among residents of Back Bay and neighborhoods throughout the city.

Of even greater concern citywide and in the Back Bay, again, is when trash is removed and how residents can have a modicum of control setting the time for trash removal.

Currently, garbage trucks collecting trash generated by Back Bay businesses in the middle of the night cause many residents to suffer from noise pollution that makes sleeping impossible at times.

And there are other distractions like the hoisting off the ground of garbage packed dumpsters by huge trucks specially equipped to do so and then the trash being transferred into the larger vehicle and the empty dumpster let down to its place on the street or sidewalk it occupies – and all of this is with loud banging – steel on steel – and the larger trash removal truck straining its engine and increasing its exhaust.

The city has the authority to regulate the timing of residential trash collection. The city does not have the same powers with commercial trash collection, except to note that large, residential apartment houses use the very same trash containers as commercial customers.

Councillors Mike Ross and Felix Arroyo have been working with Representatives Marty Walz and Aaron Michlewitz on a home rule petition to rein in commercial trash collection and to put it under the same scrutiny and control as residential trash collection.

This week, city of Boston officials, neighborhood association members and residents affected by the noise that comes with early morning trash pick-ups, are meeting to discuss the situation and how it might best be changed.

The timing of trash collection in a place like Back Bay is a policy question of the first order.

This is a major quality of life issue in one of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

The time has come for the city to control commercial trash pick-ups the same way it has brought control to the pick-up of residential trash.

Regulating trash pickup is essential.

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