LYNN — Dumpster days are not a dime a dozen in the city. But with a sharp increase in demand, they could be.
For the past two decades, there are three Saturdays a year that are dedicated to helping Lynn residents get rid of their oversized household junk. The city’s trash collection program, which began in 2014, only provides residents with one 64 gallon barrel for trash.
“We used to put all our trash on the sidewalk. Now that we only have one barrel, I can’t put everything into that so all the trash accumulates,” said Perry Guanci, a Lynn resident since 1963.
The line of junk-laden cars formed on Commercial Street extension off the Lynnway Saturday at 6 a.m. even through dumpster day didn’t officially start until 7a.m. Guanci and his daughter, Lisa, made their first dumpster run of the day, loading their car up with trash they were eager to get rid of. The father-daughter duo tossed chairs, ironing boards, and kids toys, in the dumpster and raced back home to load up their car for another trip.
“All of this is in my house and I can’t get rid of it anywhere else,” she said. “This junk has been in the house for years and I can only get rid of so much of it at a time. There definitely needs to be more days for this.”
George Potter, superintendent of the street division for the DPW, pulled up to 250 Commercial St. at 6:30 a.m. to find a line of cars down the Lynnway, some of them even facing the wrong way on one of the city’s busiest roads. Potter has been in his position for the last eight years, and has been working with the DPW for the last three decades. He believes the growing population and the city’s one-barrel rule are the major reasons for the increase in demand. Another reason is residents wanting to avoid the $20 fee trash companies charge for large item pickups.
“Historically, it’s always been three times a year,” said Potter. “Why it’s not more or less, well it’s just a number that we’ve always had but I do think we are headed in the direction of an increase in dumpster days just because it is so overwhelming.”
The DPW deployed six dumpsters and four trash trucks Saturday on Commercial Street from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. as workers directed cars full of junk to the drop-off points. The separate sections consisted of an area to dispose of metal products, leaf and yard waste, which can be disposed of every Saturday at the same location, and, the most common, oversized household junk.
When the dumpsters fill up, DPW workers utilize the big open area nearby to dump the junk. Everything disposed of gets taken to Resco, or the Wheelabrator, in Saugus where it’s incinerated.
“Sometimes there are some old antique bicycles, tools, and things like that,” said Potter. “Ninety-five percent of it is just mattresses, bureaus and junk.”
While most of it is Lynn residents’ trash, it can be treasure for others. Rick Aylwin, the DPW worker directing all the cars, took one item off a Lynner’s hands before they tossed it into the dumpster. A left-handed hockey stick, which are hard to come by for a decent price according to him, helped Aylwin direct cars for the remainder of the day. While some scrounge for rare items, most of the people on Commercial Street during dumpster days are just happy to clean out their homes.
“This helps to keep the city clean,” said Esdarlo Abreu, a resident for the last 14 years. “I’ve had some of these items in my house for over ten years. It’s very important because it keeps all of this rot from being in my house.”
Even though the days are dedicated to disposing of trash, there are rules. Residents cannot dispose of paint or hazardous materials, there are separate disposal days for those items with collection days listed on the DPW website. Construction materials, such as sheetrock or asphalt shingles, can’t be dumped. A $25 fee is required to dispose of televisions or monitors and a $5 fee for the disposal of propane tanks.
Given the day is solely for Lynn residents, proper identification is required. If elderly or physically- challenged residents have items they want dropped off by non-Lynn family members, they can call ahead the week prior and inform the DPW. In the near future, Potter hopes to increase dumpster days to once a month from April to November.
“It works out and I think the residents of Lynn appreciate it because I don’t know of any other cities that have this,” he said.