WHITMAN — With the beginning of spring, the town of Whitman will begin a new automated trash pickup system through Waste Management.
Homeowners have already begun receiving informational flyers from the hauling company about the switch, according to DPW Superintendent Bruce Martin.
“The program is what most municipalities are going to nowadays,” Martin said.
The cart manufacturer will be working with the DPW and Waste Management to distribute two 64-gallon, wheeled barrels to every house in town — single-family to three-family dwellings — on Wednesday March 23 with pickup service to begin Monday, April 4. The pickup schedule has changed for some residents, as 300 on the schedule for Friday were distributed between Mondays and Wednesday to even out the workload. Notifications of that change have already been made via mail or robocall.
Multi-family buildings with dumpsters are not part of the town’s trash program.
“The rules for that haven’t changed,” Martin said.
The black barrels will be used for trash and the blue for recycling.
Panther colors were attempted, as many communities go with their town’s school colors, but red is not in the manufacturer’s color inventory and would have incurred added cost.
Every barrel will be marked with a serial number assigned to the address. Barrels are to remain with the property when a house is sold.
Once the program is up and running, new construction will be signed up through the assessor’s office. New subdivisions now under construction have already been included.
“The truck pulls up and the guy doesn’t even get out of the truck,” Martin said. “The [mechanized] arm reaches, out, grabs the trash barrel, empties it and puts it back. The days of trash guys hanging off the back of the truck when its 2 degrees out or 95 degrees out are over.”
Only items inside the barrels will be picked up.
While some seniors have expressed concern about the size, weight and maneuverability of the 64-gallon barrels, Martin said the new barrels should be easier to handle than older trash cans because they have big handles and wheels, and are wider so they have more stability.
Right now, Whitman has a three-barrel limit but the new ones are the size of two barrels, according to Martin, who noted that it may mean going down a barrel on trash, but the recycle volume is much greater.
“The whole idea is to have people recycle more,” he said, noting barrel volume has been one of the most frequently voiced concerns. “The state DEP is pushing everybody to this system, because you can’t keep putting this stuff in the ground.”
Mailers from Waste Management include tips on set-out times, placement of barrels and how to clear a space for them in snowy weather, as well as instructions on what to recycle and how. A holiday schedule and contact information was also included.
For more information, call Waste Management at 800-972-4545, the DPW at 781-447-7630 or visit whitman-ma.gov.
“I just want people to be patient with the new program, give it a try,” Martin said. “I think it’s just going to be a learning curve for people.”