Questions abound concerning new East Providence recycling program


EAST PROVIDENCE — As the new recycling program in East Providence approaches with the first collections scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 9, phone lines into the city's Public Works Department have been lighting up with questions from interested residents.

DPW Programs Coordinator Donna McMahon has been kept quite busy fielding calls, especially so since the large, 95-gallon blue containers to be used in the new automated format were delivered to residences in mid August.

"We've received a lot of calls from people confused as to what goes in the containers, and we've stressed that it's just recyclables, not trash," Ms. McMahon said recently. "Another thing people are confused about is the every other week pick-up. Even though the program starts on Sept. 9, recyclables will be picked up on the same day as your trash, just not every week. It's every other week."

Rubbish collection and yard debris, the latter when in season, continue to be collected on a weekly basis. Starting next week, your recyclables will be picked up on a two-week cycle. So, as an example, if your trash is collected on say Wednesday, Sept. 11, you would put out you new blue bin that day, but not again until Sept. 25.

Another concern of residents, according to Ms. McMahon, is how the containers should be place in front of residences. Each bin came with a brochure answering many similar questions, but the bin should be placed at the edge of curb with the handle side facing your house, Ms. McMahon added.

Still another frequently asked question of late has been what to do with the old smaller blue and green containers currently being used. Due to the size of the new bins, DPW is urging residents to use the old bins as transitional containers, like keeping them in their garage, porch, breezeways, etc., on a daily basis before dumping them into the new larger ones.

Those who wish to get rid of their old, cracked bins can return them to the DPW headquarters located at 60 Commercial Way. A spot will be created to drop off the old containers near the red shed just inside the DPW grounds. You cannot dispose of your old bins by placing them in the new larger ones.

While asking residents to read the brochure provided inside the new bins, Ms. McMahon said DPW staff is available to answer any remaining questions. Residents can call Public Works at 435-7701. All pertinent information on the new recycling program can be found at the DPW tab on the city website,

"This should make things a lot easier for everyone," Ms. McMahon said about the new automated system. "Over the years we've received a lot of complaints from people, especially on windy days, with plastic bottles and other recyclables blowing out of the smaller containers. They can cause a lot of problems, like clogging up storm drains. We don't want this new system to be a problem. We want this to be a good thing for city."


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.