Mattresses and Clothing to be Banned from Trash Barrels; Haverhill Explains What to do

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

A statewide waste ban, going into effect this fall, will alter how Haverhill residents dispose of certain materials and how much it will cost.

Speaking before the City Council this week, Haverhill Solid Waste Manager Gunther Wallenstein explained how waste bans began several decades ago in order to reduce the amount of trash taking up space in the state’s finite number of landfills. As a result, recycling centers were created for items such as televisions, appliances and reusable materials.

Wallenstein, introduced by Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, went on to say the state is adding mattresses and textiles to the list of items which may no longer be thrown away beginning this November.

“So all of the municipalities, whether we have curbside or drop-off, we’re all competing for a short list of vendors, so time is of essence to pick a vendor,” he said.

Referring specifically to mattresses, Wallenstein said, those items are now collected at no charge as often as once a week. While that is convenient for residents, it has resulted in residents from other cities bringing their mattresses to Haverhill for disposal.

“Unfortunately, that does create an island effect where municipalities around us do charge for bulky items. If we are an island with no fees, then those things will migrate to be disposed of here on our dime,” he explained.

As proof, Wallenstein cited data showing four Haverhill homes put out 10 mattresses in one year. He said the hope is, by charging an amount similar to neighboring cities, the importation problem will disappear. He told the Council one of the proposed vendors is considering a fee of $25 to $35 per mattress. He is hopeful curbside pick-up will continue to be available.

He added those mattresses are de-manufactured in Haverhill, meaning they are stripped to their essential elements before being recycled.

Textiles will also be banned from trash barrels. Wallenstein said these include clothing, linens and anything else that can be worn. Currently, these account for 6% off all household trash, which costs the city about $88,000 per year to burn. He said the plan is porch pick-up will be available for those items as well as drop-off at the city recycling center on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan said Haverhill’s plans may also benefit Winnekenni Park, which has been challenged by illegal dumping. He thanked Wallenstein for his presentation.

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