City residents will get a chance to have bulky waste items picked up for free in the coming weeks.
Starting Aug. 25 with Monday routes, Waste Management will take away items that do not typically fit in the 65-gallon trash carts used in the new automated pickup system.
Up to three items will be allowed for each residential unit, according to information provided by the city, and the pickup does not include mattresses, construction debris, televisions, electronics, white goods or household trash.
The items must be placed curbside the Monday morning of the week designated for each regular pickup day. For example, for those whose pickup day is Thursday, items must be placed curbside on Monday, Sept. 15. The city advises that items should be left at curbside until the process, which may take a few days, is complete. There is no need for residents to schedule an appointment with Waste Management.
The full schedule is as follows:
Monday routes: Monday, Aug. 25.
Tuesday routes: Tuesday, Sept. 2 (due to holiday delay)
Wednesday routes: Monday, Sept. 8
Thursday routes: Monday, Sept. 15
Friday routes: Monday, Sept. 22
Ken Mason, director of the Department of Public Works, said the bulky waste pickup is at this point designed as a one-time offering.
“We’re going to try it out,” he said.
The announcement comes in the midst of ongoing criticism from some in the community – including members of the City Council – regarding aspects of the new automated trash and recycling pickup system, which has been presented as a means to control costs and increase recycling rates.
Fees associated with the program – which include $18 for pickup of bulky items, $25 for pickup of mattresses and box springs and a $150 annual charge for single-family households seeking a second, 65-gallon cart – have been a particular point of contention. Several council members have also voiced fears over large items being abandoned in vacant lots or other areas as residents seek to avoid the fees.
Mason has said many residents disposed of large items ahead of the June 30 switch to the new system, and questioned the assertion that dumping of large items had or would become a major issue.
In a statement Tuesday, Fung defended the new system and hinted that additional free bulky waste pickup opportunities may be offered in the future.
“My administration has always been responsive to the needs of the taxpayers, while also balancing those needs in a fiscally responsible manner,” the statement reads. “We have worked tirelessly to provide municipal services that the taxpayer can afford and I am pleased to implement this pilot bulky pickup program at no cost to the residents of Cranston. Although this is a temporary program, we will evaluate the results and determine whether we can offer it again in the spring and perhaps even next fall.”
City Council President John Lanni, who has called for “amnesty days” to provide residents an opportunity to dispose of excess waste, said the free bulky waste pickup is a positive development. He continues to feel additional accommodations are needed, however.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Does it satisfy all the concerns? No.”
Lanni said he is particularly concerned about times of year when residents generate more trash than is typical.
“What I think we’re looking for is amnesty programs every two months,” he said, and “particularly around the holidays.”
The city has also announced a second drop-off day for old trash cans and recycling bins.
The event will be held at the Cranston Ice Rink parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6. The old containers will be recycled by Full Circle Recycling of Johnston.