Corrugate Tsunami! After Town Yard Swamped, Town Holding Second Cardboard Day Saturday

Photo: A DPW photo showing just one of the containers filled with cardboard.

The Department of Public Works knew they would have a good response with its first cardboard drop off event of the new year – the first since the holiday season – so it reserved a second 42-foot long transport container “just in case” the first would fill up.

What occurred on Saturday morning, Jan. 5, was beyond anyone’s imagination.

Approximately 276 cars – many stuffed to the brim with packaging and corrugated paper – crawled into the Town Yard at the end of C Street, as the undermanned volunteers and workers tried their best to take out the material and find someplace to put it. Before noon on Saturday, not only were the two shipping container stuffed, the workers filled the shed housing the department’s snow trucks with cardboard. Even before the noon ending, Belmont Police was turning people away as the line were potential traffic on Waverley Street. 

As DPW director Jay Marcotte said before the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 7, “it was a lesson learned.”

In response to the obvious demand, the DPW is holding a second cardboard recycling drop off this Saturday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Town Yard off C Street.

With last week’s enthusiastic response for this drop off still fresh on everyone’s mind and with the trend of cardboard recycling is “going up,” Marcotte said the town along with its recycling hauler Waste Management is studying whether to have a regularly scheduled drop off time – for example, an hour on Monday evenings after work – that would be spaced out over a few weeks so the neighborhood on C Street doesn’t feel they are being invaded by their fellow residents. It would involve the rental or purchase of a compactor which would dramatically lessen the number of containers required. 

A new recycling program could also alleviate the growing outcry from residents who contend the blue “recycling” carts aren’t large enough to hold two weeks of cardboard and other recyclables, While residents can store additional trash in authorized purchased bags, there’s no such alternative for recycling since the 96-gallon cart was considered sufficient capacity for two weeks of paper by similar-sized communities with a similar single-stream system.  

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