Trash talk: Board of Alderman debate mandatory cart policy for pilot program

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MANCHESTER, NH – A pilot automated trash program approved by the Board of Aldermen led to a lengthy “trash talk” discussion during the March 7 Board of Aldermen meeting.

Alderman Dan O’Neil raised the question under New Business of whether residents who live in the three wards approved for the pilot program – Wards 6, 7, and 12 – are obliged to purchase a specialized trash tote barrel, which led to a back-and-forth that centered on the original vote. Several aldermen said they voted against the pilot due to the mandatory purchase requirement, and the potential loss of jobs for city trash workers.

The answer is yes.

The Public Works Department has made the case that implementing a mandatory tote program would keep the city cleaner and reduce the amount of money spent by the city on worker’s compensation claims due to injuries.

For those who live in Wards 6, 7 and 12 should know the following information, as posted on the city’s website:

Starting May 1, the Department of Public Works will begin pilot testing the use of automated collection technology to pick up trash in designated areas of Manchester.

Automated collection requires that all garbage be placed in acontainer compatible with the truck’s mechanical arm. Within pilot areas, trash in other containerswill NOT be collected.

All green trash carts previously or currently sold by the City of Manchester ARE APPROVED for automated collection. These durable, warrantied trash carts are now available – to pilot area customers only – at a 50 percent discount of the regular cost of $60 or $75.

Trach totes come in two sizes.

Trash cart information:

Public Works makes 65 gallon and 95 gallon carts available for purchase by Manchester’s residential refuse customers. The prices are $60 and $75, respectively.

Carts may be purchased at the Drop Off Facility at 500 Dunbarton Road. Only cash and checks are accepted. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of every month from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Carts have a 10-year warranty from the month and year of manufacture. A date stamp can typically be found on the body of the cart, handle side. Carts requiring repair or replacement should be brought to the Drop Off Facility. Note: If the warranty has expired, Public Works will not be able to provide a free replacement cart. In some instances, facility personnel may be able to make no-cost, minor repairs to damaged lids and wheels. Please call (603) 624-6504 for details. Questions? Call the Public Works Department at (603) 624-6444, or email us at

To check to see whether you live in one of the three pilot wards, there is a search form on the city’s Trash/Recycling page.Click here t0 access the search form.


What is automated trash collection?
Automated trash collection is the removal of garbage placed curbside using a truck with a mechanical arm. The truck is controlled by a single operator.

Why is the City considering automated collection?
The Department of Public Works (DPW) believes that automated collection will increase worker safety, improve neighborhood aesthetics, and achieve efficiency gains. See Why Automated Collection? for more details.

Where will the pilot program be implemented?
There is one pilot area on the west side, and one on the east side.See our bird’s eye view map. To determine if you are located in a pilot area, use theaddress search form.

When will the pilot program start and end?
The program is slated to begin May 1 and to continue for at least one year.

Will there be outreach?
Yes. The City will be in contact with property owners and tenants in the pilot areas in the months leading up to commencement of the program. Outreach will include instructions on how to acquire trash carts compatible with the automated truck at a 50 percent discount.

How do I acquire an approved trash container?
Property owners and tenants within the pilot areas may purchase City of Manchester trash carts at a 50 percent discount.These green containers have been used throughout Manchester for years. They are durable, approved for automated collection,and warrantied for ten years. Enter your qualifying pilot area address in the address search formto access a secure, online ordering system.

Alternatively, you may also submit the order form contained in our brochure, along with payment, to: CITY OF MANCHESTER, Department of Public Works, 475 Valley Street, Manchester, NH 03103.

I already have a green City of Manchester trash cart. Do I need to buy a new one?
No. Any trash cart previously acquired through the City is compatible with an automated truck. These carts have a green body, black lid, wheels, andhandles.On most, but not all,there is a City of Manchester seal on the side.

May I use a container other than a green City of Manchester trash cart?
In almost all cases, the answer is “no.” Any trash container placed for collection MUST BE compatible with an automated truck. If youwant to usea non-City container that you believeis compatible, youMUST contact the Highway Divisionno later than April 14 for assessment and approval.

What size cart do I need?
This depends on a number of factors, including the size of your household and how much you recycle. Typically, a 65 gallon cart will hold three to four standard trash bags; a 95 gallon cart will hold five to six standard trash bags.

Whatis the cost of a City trash cart to pilot area customers?
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen has established that the cost of carts purchased for use in the pilot areas will be borne 50 percent by the City and 50 percent by pilot area customers. The cost to the customer is: $35 for a 95 gallon cart; $28 for a 65 gallon cart. The number of carts you may buy at the discounted rate is limited by the number you may place for collection.

How many trash carts may I place for collection?
Single-family residential – up to 2
Two-family residential – up to 4
Three-family residential – up to 6
Residential of four units or more – up to 8
Planned developments (including condos) andmanufactured home parks–
2 per unit; maximum of 8 per development/park
Commercial – 2 per business; maximum of 8 per property
Mixed-use – 2 per unit of any type; maximum of 8 per property
Non-profit organization – up to 8 per property

Property owners and tenants mayrequest permission to place more cartsthan the above-mentioned limits by submitting a petition.

Will my pilot area trash cart purchase include delivery?
Yes, delivery is included, provided that you order by the March 31 deadline. Carts purchased after March 31 will need to be picked up from the Drop Off Facility. Proof of pilot area address will be required to obtain the discounted price.

May I choose to not participate in the pilot program?
You are not required to participate; however, be aware that municipal curbside collection services in the pilot areas will only be provided to those who place their trash in approved carts. Your other options are to dispose of your trash for a feeat the Drop Off Facility, or to contract with a private hauler.

How do I properly place a cart for collection?
The following placement rules apply:

  • Carts must be situated with handle and wheels facing away from the street.
  • Cart lids must be fully closed.
  • Carts must be placed at the edge of the road, on the street side of the curb (if present); they must not blockthe sidewalk.
  • Carts must be placed in front of the property at which the trash was generated, unless an alternative placement has been agreed to by DPW.
  • Carts must be placed in a location that allows for access by collection equipment and crews:
    • at least two feet from other carts, trees, mailboxes, parked vehicles, and misc. objects;
    • not behind vehicles, other carts, or misc. objects;
    • not obstructed by snow banks.
  • Where availability of on-street parking is adversely affected, DPW may require that carts be placed in front of the owner’s driveway or along a nearby stretch of street where parking is prohibited.

What if I have more trash than fits in my approved cart?
You may dispose of overflow trash at the Drop Off Facility. Fees apply.

What if I have an item that does not fit in my approved cart?
By ordinance, such items are considered “bulky” waste and must be disposed of according to established rules.

Are there penalties for not placing trash properly?
Yes. Anyone who places materials in violation of City ordinances or departmental regulations is subject to a fine.

The Drop Off Facilityat 500 Dunbarton Roadaccepts most wastes and recyclables generatedin Manchester.

image of a clockHours of Operation

The Drop Off Facility is open during the following times:

  • Mondaythrough Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • First and third Saturdays ofthe month, 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

To speak to an attendant, please call (603) 624-6504.

image of a Drop Off Facility permitPermits and Fees

An annual use permit is required. Permits may be purchased at the facility only. Consult thefee schedulefor eligibility requirements, permit fees, facility guidelines,anddisposal charges.Only cash and checks are accepted.

Check MarkAllowed

The following materials are accepted at the Drop Off Facility:

  • Automotive and rechargeable batteries, tires and waste oil
  • Bulky items (such as furniture and rugs)
  • Construction/demolition debris and trash
  • Electronics
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fluorescent lamps and ballasts
  • Household trash and recyclables
  • Mercury thermostats
  • Metalscrap(including appliances such as refrigerators and stoves)
  • Propane tanks (maximum of 60 lbs)
  • Yard waste (logs are accepted, but no stumpsor large roots)

X MarkNot Allowed

The following materials are not accepted at the Drop Off Facility:

  • Asbestos
  • Hazardous wastes, except for those listed above*
  • Fill (i.e., soils and rocks)

*household hazardous wastesmay be disposed of at specialcollection events

The use of automated dump bodies is restricted. See guidelinesfor details.

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