new attleboro trash bin

The new Attleboro trash bin.

ATTLEBORO — The city’s new trash barrels, currently being delivered to each of the more than 14,000 homes that are part of the city’s solid waste program, are sparking some trash talk — mostly over the size of the containers.

Mayor Paul Heroux said he’s gotten some calls. So has The Sun Chronicle.

Meanwhile, a number of people have chimed in with posts on the “Everything Attleboro” Facebook page complaining the barrels, which come with attached lids and wheels, are too small.

“The new barrel is a joke,” Jody Therien wrote in a post on Everything Attleboro. “One bag not filled will fit and you’re done. Anyone living alone may make it work but good luck to the rest of us.”

Peter T. Clark described them as “itty-bitty.”

“Two white kitchen trash bags (which are 13 gallons each) barely even fit,” he wrote in a post. “It’s supposed to be 35 gallons — which is already too small … if they’re not the right size, Waste Management should be called on the carpet for breach of contract.”

In a letter to The Sun Chronicle, Steve Hosmer said the new barrels are insufficient.

“These will not work for many people because they are simply too small,” he said. “Odd shaped items that will not fit in the container or bags will now be subject to the $29 bulk fee.”

But Heroux defended the barrels noting that at 35 gallons, they have a three-gallon greater capacity than the typical 32-gallon capacity barrels people currently use even if they seem to look smaller.

“People are getting a bigger capacity,” he said in a telephone interview with The Sun Chronicle.

And there are other positives, he said.

If the barrel breaks the owner will get a new one without charge.

The mayor noted the barrels are easier to move because they have wheels.

And Heroux said if the city got bigger barrels it would have lost a $300,000 state grant it got to pay for the containers and residents would have gotten stuck with the cost.

He said the number of complaints is small in contrast to the city’s 14,000 rate payers.

“My phone is not blowing off the hook,” Heroux said. “You don’t make public policy if a dozen or two dozen complain.”

Others don’t have a problem with the new barrels.

Ryan Sorel said he has a family of six and has used a 32-gallon barrel for more than two years without problems.

“For the past two years we have used one 32-gallon can for my family of six and I can count on one hand the amount of times trash fitting has been an issue,” he said in a post on Everything Attleboro. “We recycle all we can and have not been distressed. So if the new can (which I have not seen in person) is an actual 35 gallons I feel we will not have issues.”

Heather LaTremouille Jutras said it’s the shape that makes them appear smaller.

“The barrels are tall and thin, the(y) look smaller because of the height,” she said in a Facebook post. “This barrel is actually two gal(lons) larger (than) the generic Lowe’s barrel we currently use.”

In a related matter, the mayor said he has contacted Waste Management about the $29 bulk item fee that has stirred up some residents.

The fee is new this year and came as a shock to those accustomed to getting bulk items picked up at no cost.

Heroux said he’s discussing “a hybrid” system with Waste Management, but did not release any details.

He also said so few people use the bulk item pickup service he determined that by not having the cost included in the annual trash fee he could lower the cost for most of the 14,000 participants.

In previous years, those who didn’t use the service were paying for those who did, he said.

“It was a way to keep the rate down and shift the cost to people using it,” the mayor said.

Heroux has said in the past that out-of-towners were also taking advantage of the city by disposing of their bulk items on Attleboro sidewalks at the city’s expense.

But Heroux said he’d like to get more input on the issue and urged residents to send him an email at paulheroux@cityofattleboro.us.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.

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