Councilors want to control trash pick-ups

City Councilors Mike Ross and Felix Arroyo are attempting to wrestle control of the City’s commercial trash services from the state after receiving numerous complaints. Residents are annoyed at being awoken by commercial trash collectors during the night.

“We do a pretty good job of managing ourselves,” said Ross, a Mission Hill resident who said he hasn’t heard any complaints in his neighborhood. “I don’t think we need the state managing it for us.”

The state currently prohibits cities and towns from regulating commercial trash services, but Arroyo and Ross are co-sponsoring a home rule petition that would hand control back to the City. It is not known why the state currently controls the commercial trash services.  A hearing before the Council’s Committee on Government Operations was held on Feb. 27 discuss the petition.

“It’s a serious problem, especially if you live near a commercial district,” said Arroyo. “Frankly, the state has no business telling any city, let alone the capital, how to regulate their trash.”

Arroyo noted that residential trash pickup, which the City does regulate, operates between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., while commercial is the exact opposite. Several commercial trash companies did not respond for a request to comment.

The councilor said the Feb. 27 hearing included a 22-year resident of the City who has a detailed complaint log stretching back two years and another Bostonian who has tried to persuade the trash collector to come at another time.

“If you really think about how loud a trash truck is, picking up a Dumpster, and the beeping sound when it backs up, what type of quality of life do you have?” said Arroyo.

Both councilors say that they don’t want to drastically change how the commercial trash collectors operate, but want to work with them and residents to find a more reasonable approach.

“Some trash haulers are respectful of residents who are trying to sleep at night,” said Ross. “Others couldn’t care less.”

Arroyo said his hopes are for the petition to be voted on by the Council before the end of the month. It would then have to be signed by the mayor before going to the state legislature for approval.

“It just doesn’t seem normal,” Arroyo said about the late-night pickups. “Just try to picture that at 3:30 a.m. a trash truck is emptying a Dumpster. Most people can’t sleep like that.”

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