LAWRENCE — The city’s new rotating trash removal schedule has created some confusion and frustration among residents and business owners, but city officials and the trash collecting company say it will get smoother over time.
Yesterday, Orchard Street residents complained to the city’s recycling coordinator after their trash had not been picked up for several days. Before Oct. 1, trash was picked up throughout the city every Tuesday. Now, it is collected according to neighborhoods over five days.
“I think it’s an embarrassment and it’s disgusting,” said Laura McCabe, who bought a house on Orchard Street eight years ago. The blue trash bin provided by the city sat in her front yard with last week’s waste.
Throughout the neighborhood were blue bins overflowing with trash bags, broken toys and boxes leaning against them. There were also piles of black bags in front of businesses.
“The holiday (Columbus Day) created a confusion on the schedule especially coming so early in the month and with such a significant change,” said Brian Alexson, vice president of sales and marketing at E. L. Harvey and Sons, Inc.
Alexson said the trash on Orchard Street in the North Common neighborhood was picked up by 2 p.m. yesterday.
“If we miss something it’s our goal to rectify it. We know it’s going to be a learning process for everyone, and we’ll try to make it as flexible as possible for everyone,” Alexson said.
The city signed a three-year contract with the Westborough company and Alexson said they are working with the city when issues arise.
Alexson said most of the calls to the company’s customer service department were from people asking where they can get the bins.
“We started getting calls early on and it actually helped because we did not have a rush of calls,” he said. Alexson said the booklet sent to residents explains the process in English and Spanish.
“It has worked out very well,” he said.
Several City Councilors said they have received some complaints from constituents.
Marc LaPlante, who represents District F, said most of the calls were from people whose yard waste was not hauled away.
“This is only the third week and I know that it will take a while to learn the new system,” LaPlante said. He said the new trash removal will help the city educate residents about recycling, concentrate on keeping areas clean and enforce violations.
District C City Councilor Kendrys Vasquez, agrees.
“It will help the city, particularly District C,” he said.
City Council president Frank Moran also likes the concept which encourages people to recycle.
“There’s very minimum recycling done in some areas more than others. This will give us the opportunity to provide information,” Moran said.
Moran noted the city had a similar trash rotation program four years ago before going back to the one-day citywide pick up.
Vasquez said he has gone around his district to talk to residents about the changes.
“Almost everyone has adopted to the transition,” he said. The few calls he received were from residents regarding what day their trash was going to be collected.
At-large City Councilor Daniel Rivera likes the recycling program, but is worried about recycling coordinator Andrys Castillo being able to handle the job.
“I don’t think he’ll do a good job because he doesn’t have the experience,” Rivera said. “It was a political appointment by the mayor and we’re going to suffer because of that.”
“The first week there was a lot of confusion as expected, but if we’re still getting complaints in six months or if we don’t handle the winter season well, then that’s a problem,” Rivera said.
Days for trash pick up by neighborhoods:
Monday, Mount Vernon; Tuesday, South Lawrence East; Wednesday, Prospect Hill; Thursday, Arlington Neighborhood and Friday, Tower Hill.