Beacon Hill Committee Opposes Proposal to Barrel Trash
The City Council held a hearing on Thursday to address issues related to trash pick-up and storage.
Nearly a dozen residents from across the city spoke up at Thursday’s City Council hearing on trash pick-up to voice concerns over the current practices in place in their neighborhoods.
The hearing was co-sponsored by District 1 Councilor Sal LaMattina to discuss the use of trash barrels to contain waste put out for collection in certain neighborhoods. The barrels would protect fragile plastic bags from rips and tears generated by animals and trash pickers, he said.
Several Beacon Hill residents at the city meeting Thursday said they were opposed to trash barrels for storage reasons.
Beacon Hill resident Elizabeth Leach said she frequently asks trash pickers to cease and desist, and encouraged the city to address the problem.
“There must be some way of keeping these people moving because they plop down and they go through your trash,” she said. “I confront everybody that I think is out of line in front of my building.”
The Beacon Hill Business Association's Streets and Sidewalks Committee unanimously agreed at its meeting Tuesday night not to support the proposal. In an email to Patch, the committee said that the reasons for the opposition are:
- That the barrels would not be picked up and would remain as eyesores throughout the day and night. "This is what happened many years ago when a similar set up was in operation, and it was not a success," they wrote.
- There may not be room in smaller apartment to store the barrels.
- Barrels which were placed outside could be used as general trash receptacles with trash just tossed in throughout the week.
LaMattina and District 5 Councilor Robert Consalvo acknowledged at the outset of Thursday’s hearing that the use of trash barrels may not work in neighborhoods with denser populations such as the South End and Beacon Hill. But Councilor Maureen Feeney questioned whether the benefit of cleaner streets would outweigh the inconvenience of finding somewhere to store the barrels.
“If that means you have to have someone to drop that barrel off to fill it, then that’s what happens. Maybe they’re stored off-site,” she speculated. “Everybody pays the price when people don’t dispose of their trash properly.”
Since the city began ticketing residents who place their trash in flimsy shopping bags, the streets have slowly gotten cleaner, Assistant Commissioner of Environmental Services Leo Boucher said on Thursday. In the South End, however, progress has been slow, he said, and the issue has been compounded by the steady stream of trash pickers searching for bottles within trash bags.
“For some of these people it’s like a mini business,” he said.
Boucher said his employees will occasionally tell trash pickers to move along, but are instructed not to confront them if the situation seems unsafe.
“Confronting some of these folks can be a little bit hectic a little bit dangerous,” he said. “My guys will ask somebody to move along but I try to tell them to avoid confrontation.”
No decisions were made at the hearing, but councilors said the conversation would continue.