NORWALK, Conn. – An alleged trail of recyclable materials strewn upon a Norwalk street has been described as “growing pains” in the relationship between the city and City Carting.
A City Carting worker said he didn’t have time to empty his overflowing truck Tuesday morning,, according to Golden Hill resident Mike Mushak, who told the Public Works Committee that he had spent an hour cleaning up the street after the truck had come through.
While Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E) said he had been observing the work done by City Carting and hadn’t seen an issue other than an errant bottle here and there, Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) confirmed that there are occasional problems.
“It’s growing pains. We have to figure out how to solve these problems,” said Kimmel, who helped to negotiate the outsourcing contract with City Carting, which included the switch to single stream recycling last summer.
Mushak’s problem stemmed in part from the use of mechanical arms — which Kimmel called “crabs” — to pick up the large recycling bins. But Mushak said City Carting’s work habits were to blame.
“I talked to someone at City Carting who said they have a time limit,” Mushak said. “They don’t have the time to get out of the truck and pick up the trash, but in the old days, when the city did it, it was so neat and clean, the garbage cans — there was never any garbage on the street. … I would hope that City Carting would put two people on the truck. That would solve the problem. When we had the city doing it they really took pride in their work.”
McCarthy said the city had never picked up recycling materials. Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord confirmed that, saying that Waste Management began that work in 1991.
McCarthy said Mushak could call customer service and have a sweeper truck sent out, but Mushak said a sweeper truck wouldn’t get the trash from people’s lawns.
Kimmel asserted that Mushak’s claim had merit.
“It’s complicated, that’s all I’m saying,” he said. “Some streets are perfect. Some streets can be a mess. It depends on whether there’s holidays and all kinds of things, how full they are, what’s on top. There’s a variety of factors involved here that we should look at and discuss. It may be that adding a person is not the right solution to the problem because I have seen many times, as I would go out for a run in Cranbury, there was nothing at all. When I campaigned, there was nothing at all; but sometimes you would see it.”
There’s been a learning curve, he said.
“Then there was the issue with how much can a resident pack it,” he said. “If you have so much to recycle and it’s (filled to the top), it’s going to fly all over. You’ve got wind, you’ve got all kinds of things that we are beginning to figure out how to address on those issues. No street should have the debris.”
“The truck was filled and the guy said he didn’t have the time, his boss wouldn’t allow him the time to go empty the truck because he had no time,” Mushak said. “It was literally falling out of the truck as he went down the street.”