FAIRFIELD — Town officials are reminding residents they’re not allowed to put their trash cans out at the curb for collection.
The reminder comes after a July letter from Winter Bros. to its customers, claiming a new town regulation was taking effect Aug. 1 that no longer allowed for curb service and would mean a $5 increase in their monthly fee if their trash cans were more than 10 feet from the curb.
That prompted Solid Waste and Recycling Director Mike Zembruski to post a letter on the town’s website. The prohibition against curbside collection, he said, has been in place for 50 years.
The original letter the Long Island, N.Y.-based hauler, which has offices in Fairfield County, sent out read, “As of August 1, 2017, the town of Fairfield will no longer allow curb service to be provided by any company for trash pickup. All residents who have bins on the curb after August 1 will be subject to fines by the town of Fairfield.”
Damon Cerreta, a customer service manager with the trash hauler, said they are notifying all their customers by phone about their error. He said customers’ current rates will not change.
Zembruski said he first got in touch with Winter Bros. after receiving a complaint from a Representative Town Meeting member about a neighbor’s garbage cans.
“In recent years some haulers have switched to curbside trash collection to take advantage of new equipment and automation processes,” Zembruski’s post on the town’s website said. “Due to recent complaints we are reminding haulers and residents of the regulations regarding the placement and collection of trash.”
Curbside collection is only allowed for residential recycling.
The regulations state that trash containers can’t be placed at the curb and must instead be in the backyard or be subject to a $90 fine. Under the town regulation, backyard means “a convenient location on the owner’s premises, near the dwelling, easily accessible from the street and not less than 10 feet from a sidewalk, street, or curb line.”
Haulers could also lose their license to operate in town if they are found to require their customers to bring trash cans to the curb, Zembruski said. Regulations state that any person that “places or requests the placement of a refuse container at curbside shall be reported to the town Police Department” for enforcement, and possible fine.
Zembruski said he can understand both sides of the argument. Haulers may have invested money retrofitting or upgrading their trucks to take advantage of technology that uses a mechanical arm to lift and empty trash containers. And not having curbside collection probably means the garbage truck is idling in the street for longer periods, he said.
But, Zembruski added, the other side of the coin is that some streets could see garbage cans at the curb for days at a time, since it is possible that not every resident is using the same hauler, and collection schedules can differ.