Curbside bulky waste collection has been a tremendous success, so much so that the Department of Public Works (DPW) has doubled the number of collections per day and lifted restrictions on scheduling to allow residents to plan for pickups weeks or months in advance.
“Maybe it is because more people are staying home following the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, or maybe it is just the season to do spring cleaning,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “Whatever the reason we have been receiving a lot of requests and have modified our procedures to meet those needs.”
Following discussions by Public Works staff last winter, the Curbside Bulky Waste Collection Program was launched in February to ease the financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with was formally called Spring Cleanup Week.
The Solid Waste Division of the Department of Public Works recommended the elimination of the designated Spring Cleanup Week in favor of a program that residents would be able to use throughout the year. Residents were already offered three free pickups per calendar year, which was never fully utilized, and the new program combine and expands on the old programs.
“The financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with the collection effort associated with Spring Cleanup Week were unnecessary,” Stineman said. “And it took resources away from work on other projects such as street repair.”
Initially the program had residents calling or emailing the Transfer Station to schedule a collection at least two days before and up to a week in advance of their refuse collection day. A maximum of 20 collections would be scheduled each day.
Demand for the city service exceeded expectations and resulted in increasing the number of pickups per day and allowing residents to schedule collections as far in advance as needed.
“Not only have we gone from 20 to 30 and now to 40 collections per day, we are now allowing residents to schedule future pickups as needed.” Stineman said.
Solid Waste Manager David Popp added that another reason for the changes was that the piles that the staff was seeing were exceeding the size limits of the program.
“Many of the piles that we are seeing are exceeding the size as listed in the program,” Popp said. “If residents need to, they can schedule more than one week while on the phone.”
Stineman also noted that residents who want to dispose of yard waste at the Compost Facility can do so during regular site hours but a Compost Facility Sticker is needed. If you do not have one yet, contact the Transfer Station and one will be mailed to you after verification of address.
Stickers would normally be available for pickup at the Transfer Station, Public Works, or City Hall but these facilities are currently closed to the public in response to COVID-19 guidelines.
Once the Transfer Station, and other City buildings, reopen to the public, the Compost Facility Stickers will be available at locations. Residents requesting a sticker will be asked for their name, address, phone number, and make and model of the vehicle they will use to bring waste to the Compost Facility.
The site is located at the Muscatine Transfer Station, 1000 S. Houser St., Muscatine. Regular hours are 12-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays.
So what can be left curbside for the city to collect?
Among the items accepted for residential curbside pickup are furniture (couch, chair, recliner, table), mattresses (must be in a bag), carpet (no longer than four feet, rolled, and secured), dismantled swing sets, minimal building materials (not to exceed a pick up load measuring 8’x4’x2’), extra trash bags (smaller items must be bagged), and appliances (two free per year per address).
“We are only accepting small quantities of construction materials,” David Poll, Solid Waste Manager, said. “And these materials should not have nails or screws protruding from them that may injure staff as they are picking them up.”
Bags for mattresses are available for free at the Transfer Station. With the Transfer Station closed to the public at the present time, residents need to call the Transfer Station for directions on how to obtain a bag. Residents can also use the bag their new mattress came in.
What is not accepted for curbside pickup?
Among the items that will not be picked up as part of the bulky waste curbside collection are sheds, garages, and excessive building materials, concrete or brick, paint and household hazardous waste, camper refrigerator and camper air conditioners, car bodies, tires, electronics, and fencing.
Concrete or brick can be taken by the resident to the Public Works yard on Washington Street. Paint and household hazardous waste will be accepted at no charge at the Transfer Station once that location has reopened to the public.
Electronics will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee once that facility reopens to the public. A Free Electronics Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 13-18. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring three (3) electronics to the Transfer Station for disposal at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).
Tires will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee one that facility reopens to the public. A Free Tire Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 20-25. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring four (4) tires (off of the rim) to the Transfer Station at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).
Essential services maintained during COVID-19 outbreak
The stay-at-home guidelines associated with COVID-19 may have helped to increase interest in the collection effort, and the Department of Public Works has responded to meet that increased interest. This service to the citizens of Muscatine and Fruitland, along with the curbside collection of refuse, recycling, and yard waste, has continued during the COVID-19 outbreak.
CALL TO SCHEDULE CURBSIDE BULK PICKUP
Residents can call 563-264-JUNK (563-264-5865) or email email@example.com to schedule a curbside collection on the resident’s regular collection day. Due to the popularity of the program, residents are urged to contact the Transfer Station as soon as possible.
Pickups are completed on the residents’ regular refuse collection day but can be scheduled weeks in advance.
The schedule for each collection day fills up fast and a resident may have to postpone their collection to a future date.
If you email or leave a phone message with your name and phone number, a staff member will call, review the items to be picked up to ensure they are acceptable, and confirm the day for collection.
Visit Curbside Bulk Collection for more details.
CITY STILL PICKING UP YARD WASTE CURBSIDE
The City of Muscatine continues to offer curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, and garden waste placed in City of Muscatine Yard Waste bags on the residents’ regular refuse collection day. These bags are available at Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Main Street, and Fareway. They will also be available at the Transfer Station when that facility is open to the public.
Tree limbs and other trimmings from trees and shrubs will also be collected curbside as long as they are bundled with string or cord in four-foot lengths. Contact Public Works (563-263-8933) for curbside collection of larger tree limbs.
Bags, tree limbs, and other trimmings should be placed near refuse container on the day of scheduled pickup.
COMPOST FACILITY OPEN BUT ONLY WITH A STICKER
The Compost Facility at the Muscatine Transfer Station remains open for residents of Muscatine and Fruitland to deposit yard waste but only to those who have the Compost Facility Sticker. The Compost sticker identifies residents of Muscatine and Fruitland who can take yard waste to the Compost Facility for free.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the Compost Facility attendants will not accept cash or checks at this time, thus limiting access to the facility to those who can prove there are residents of Muscatine with a sticker.
For more information, visit Compost Facility on the City of Muscatine website.
This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.