Barrington cracking down on trash-pickers

Barrington cracking down on trash-pickers


The Barrington town manager is ordering stricter enforcement of an ordinance that restricts anyone taking residential recycling once it is left curbside.
The Barrington town manager is ordering stricter enforcement of an ordinance that restricts anyone taking residential recycling once it is left curbside.
One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure … just as long as it doesn’t come out of a blue or green recycling bin.

Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis recently asked the police department to crack down on people who go through residential trash and remove recyclables that they later scrap for a profit.

He pointed to the ordinance (161-2C) that states all recyclables “become the property of the Town of Barrington when placed at street-side.”

“It is specific to recyclables. I just think it’s bad practice to have anyone rummaging through (the bins) curbside,” he said.

Mr. DeAngelis said there are a number of reasons why he’s focused on stopping the trash-picking. He said the loss of recycling materials  results in a loss of revenue for the town.

Barrington Town Council President June Speakman said she understands why the town manager is taking a proactive approach to the recycling issue, but added that she feels that anyone taking other items — those not addressed by the town ordinance — is actually doing the whole state a favor.

“The shared problem we have is that the landfill is getting maxed out,” she said. “Anyone who wants to reuse something that’s in my trash, I’m OK with that. … I’m a reduce, reuse and recycle person.”

Ms. Speakman said she had the recent experience where she put out a few items for the trash which disappeared before the MEGA contractor trucks ever arrived on her street. She said removing items from the trash that would otherwise end up in the growing landfill in Johnston is a good thing.

Don’t touch it

Mr. DeAngelis does not share all of Ms. Speakman’s views on the issue. He said he would much prefer people to avoid anything put curbside — not just recycling items.

“My opinion is that everyone should stay out of the curbside” materials, Mr. DeAngelis said. “It lends itself to problems.”

Mr. DeAngelis said he fears that residents could get into confrontations with those going through recyclables or that the pickers could mistake other items left in a resident’s yard for trash.

Enforcement of the ordinance, however, could present some challenges to the local police force. Unless the pickers are witnessed in the act, it becomes difficult to prove where the recyclables came from.

“I think the officer has to use his own discretion,” Mr. DeAngelis said. “If it was me, I would escort the person to the recycling center and tell them to dump it… but I’m not the officer.”


  1. Wow, now the police are gonna do what? Ticket people who are already so broke, they have to pick through trash to make ends meet or arrest them and further burden the police dept, the courts, etc, causing far more expense? When they can’t pay the ticket or the fine, then what, the ACI. When was the last time the Barrington PD was called because of a squabble about someone coming along and taking trash that they can make a few dollars on or other trash that is still usable? It sounds to me like Mr. Deangelis has too much time on his hands. The town decided to outsource the trash pickup and because trash pickers are taking some of the profit from the recycler, he is going to throw a fit and have the police stop people from taking what someone else is throwing away. I have never read or heard about such a gutless idea. The people who pick through trash are, for the most part, the poorest people around and now he proposes to make it harder on them. The town of Barrington has far worse problems, I think this is one they should see as a non problem.

    If someone is illegally entering another’s property and removing something without permission, then that is a matter for the police. Under his proposal though, in order for a Barrington resident to allow someone to take their trash, they’d have to leave it on their property, because, according to him, if it’s on the curb it belongs to the town. It seems to me that if there is less for the trash and recyclers to pickup, then, naturally there is less for them to drop off and less making it in the landfills. Less cost for the town because the trucks have to dump off their loads less often, less fuel used. I just don’t understand what bothers him about a couple of people who drive around on trash day to see what they can take and use or make a couple extra dollars off of. Is Barrington that broke?