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You Asked: Why New Trash Barrel Rules?

The rules went into effect Jan. 1

Patch file photo. Credit: Terry Date
Patch file photo. Credit: Terry Date


Readers asked the following questions about the town's new 3-barrel limit on trash pick-up that took effect Jan. 1:

  • Can people throw out trash bags instead of barrels? 
  • Why were the new regulations established — what problems are they intended to solve?

Town Health Director Andrew Petty told us that the new rules require bagged trash to be placed in barrels and secured with tight-fitting with lids.  

The regulations were a response to two problems, the director said.

One problem is varmint, including raccoons and sea gulls, getting into trash.

Another problem is loose trash being blown by the wind, creating litter.

The town is looking into the wholesale purchase of lids for resale to residents who need them, the director said.

The new rules were enacted by the Marblehead Board of Health on Oct. 30.

The new regulations state the barrels shall be standard size — those not exceeding 35 gallons and weighing not more than 50 pounds when filled or 65 gallon-wheeled-toters weighing not more than 50 pounds when filled.

The town will educate residents about the new barrel regulations with fliers, postings, visits and other means, the director said.

Violations are not subject to fines.


Peter Lake, LAKE Real Estate January 06, 2014 at 09:26 AM
If there are no fine for violations, what are the consequences for non-compliance? If there are no consequences, why should the town expect everyone -- or anyone -- to pay attention to the new rules? Even with fines for violating municipal ordinances there's never 100% compliance. This new barrel rule becomes nothing more than a suggestion....It's a good suggestion, to be sure, but one that's got no teeth. When I lived in Beverly Hills there was a tremendous rat population that could be seen easily at night by driving down the service roads. Once the city admitted it had a rodent infestation problem, it acted firmly and quickly to impose strict requirements on trash storage and disposal. The rat problem disappeared quickly. If there's truly a reason for requiring trash to be in barrels, not bags, then the town ought to be firm about the cure. Why the equivocation?
Andrew Savage January 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM
If the articulated problems the regulations were enacted to address were (1) varmint and (2) loose trash, then why the need for a three trash can limit? The town spoke out in strong opposition of a pay for use/sticker program in recent years and this seems like a back door effort to shift waste removal costs away from the tax base toward a pay for use model.
Missy Scarlet January 06, 2014 at 11:12 AM
Our trash goes outside literally about 10 minutes before it is picked up. There is NO REASON we should have to purchase barrels, which would have to be left on the street 24-7 since we have NO place to put them on our property. How about some common sense. If there is a problem with someone's trash, fine THEM. Don't punish the entire town.
Bradley Backer January 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM
Salem has mandatory recycling. The city makes money from the recycling. Isn't that forced labor? When cities and towns get into the trash business, crime follows.

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