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Trash Etiquette – A Refresher

Written by Peter Gailunas

It’s the most wonderful day of the week! (Sung to the tune It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.)

First, just let me say that I love trash day.  It’s my favorite day of the week.  There is something about getting rid of massive amounts of garbage and recycling that puts a spring in my step. I refer to it at home as “rubbish day” and I love asking my family, “Do you know what tomorrow is?” as if it is a  special day or something unexpected is going to occur.  When they shake their heads no, I quickly inform them, that it’s rubbish day and they roll their eyes!  So I know the drill when it comes to trash. I’m sort of an expert.  So looking around the neighborhood, it appears we need a refresher in Trash Day Etiquette.

We are lucky that we live in a world-class city like Boston.  The City of Boston makes getting rid of your trash easy. It’s once a week, on a designated day. All you have to do is drag a trash barrel out to the curb.  No trips to the dump.  No special permits. Just drag out your trash barrel. It takes less than 5 minutes.  You also have to drag the trash barrel back after your trash is gone – but more on that later.

The trash collectors start at 6am. Have your trash and recycling barrels out and ready by then. Don’t put them out too early.  If you put them out before 5pm on the previous day, you risk getting a ticket from the City of Boston code enforcement.

Did you notice I said trash barrels? DO NOT PUT TRASH OUT IN TRASH BAGS.  Southie wildlife end up going through it and you’re left with trash strewn about the streets – not to mention can collectors.  Can collectors never seem to close up the bags after they’ve dug for their buried treasure in the form of Bud Light and White Claw cans. Invest in a barrel (or ask your landlord for one).  Same goes for your recycling. A paper shopping bag filled to the brim with recycling is not going to cut it.  A stiff breeze or a little rain and that crap is all over the street. You can order a recycle barrel or bin from the City of Boston here. 

After the trash/recycling collectors pick up, then you need to drag your empty barrels back into your yard, alley, designated spot.  You should do this as soon as possible to avoid creating an obstacle course of empty barrels on the sidewalk. We’ve all seen barrels in our neighborhoods stay on the sidewalk for days.  I’ve actually witnessed residents weave their way around the empty barrels and enter into their apartment building.  Apparently, they didn’t have a spare 30 seconds in their day to drag them back in the alley.

I share a common alley with neighbors who live next to me and behind me.  I’ve dragged out everyone’s trash on numerous occasions – over a dozen barrels.  I’ve taken the barrels back in after they’ve been empty.  My wife gives me a hard time about this because the neighbors never reciprocate. But I don’t want the over-flowing trash barrels sitting there for another week.  Every raccoon and skunk will be in that alley.  Just take out your trash barrels and bring them back in.  It’s simple.

After the trash is removed,  if you see debris on the ground, pick it up and throw it away.

Yard waste, electronics, hazardous materials – do not belong in household trash.  Check the City’s website to find out when and how to get rid of that stuff.

Another good tip? Download the Trash Day App for more information on their trash and recycling pick-up schedule.

Let’s all be respectful and courteous to our neighbors and our neighborhood. South Boston is a very nice neighborhood and it takes very little time and effort to help keep it up!