LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk

City says extra trash won't count against households during post-holiday time period


Holiday season has been replaced by trash season in many Lawrence households.

Most of you surely know how it goes: For every pound in gifts you receive, you most likely have two pounds of packaging and gift wrapping to throw away.

And don’t even get me started about all the trash the holiday dinner produces — napkins, linens, tablecloths, ceiling tiles. (A holiday dinner with a 6-year-old and 9-year-old who know they can’t open presents until they finish their meal, can get a little messy.)

Lots of trash following the holiday season is nothing new, but what is new in Lawrence is the city’s trash system that requires households to use a city-mandated trash cart. Those carts only hold so much trash, and the city has said it expects households only to set out as much trash as will fit in the carts. But the city also has said it basically will give households three times a year where it can exceed those amounts. More than three times a year, though, may result in the city saying you need a larger cart or an additional cart. Those larger carts come with a larger monthly bill.

So, the question has been: Does this holiday season and all the trash it produces count against your three exemptions? The answer: No.

“We are the kinder, gentler, more understanding Solid Waste Division,” said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works. “We definitely understand people have visitors during the holidays and are going to have extra trash. We’re more than happy to take extra bags during the holiday season.”

Tammy Bennett, the assistant director of public works who oversees the day-to-day operations of the trash system, said solid waste employees won’t be keeping track of households that set out extra trash either this week or next week.

But Bennett said on most other weeks (move-out and move-in week likely will be exceptions), crews will be keeping records of households that set out more trash than can be contained in their cart.

“We feel like we have to keep track of it to be fair and accurate for everybody,” Bennett said.

Bennett said the department has come up with a slogan that summarizes the city’s policy on extra trash: Take it, tag it, switch it.

The first time a household puts out extra trash, crews simply will take it and move on. The second time, crews will take the trash but also leave a tag reminding the household of the city’s trash policy. The third time, crews will take it but also leave a note indicating the city would be in touch about switching the household to a larger cart.

Bennett, though, said the department was committed to be understanding of special circumstances. For instance, one Town Talk reader mentioned to me how her household had a lot of extra trash because of sewage backup. Bennett said in cases like that, a household can call the city’s solid waste division — 832-3032 — and explain the situation, and the event wouldn’t be counted as one of the household’s three exemptions.

Bennett said the city plans to keep track of the extra trash on a calendar year basis, but she said the system is subject to change as the city learns more about it.

“We have to make sure we are getting it right for the customer,” Bennett said. “Our main goal in this is we want to make sure that customers have the right size container for the majority of the year.”


d_prowess 5 years, 2 months ago

I love this line: "We are the kinder, gentler, more understanding Solid Waste Division,” said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works. I appreciate folks that have a little fun in their work and this type of comments make Chuck sound like he doesn't take himself too seriously. I love it!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 2 months ago

Golly, either we have rules or we don't. Good for the city to do this, but, how can we get behind "Selective" rules and when they should be enforced? Who is the rule enforcement person, who gave them to power to determine how and how much to "Bend" these rules?

Kellie Baltezor 5 years, 2 months ago

Someone forgot about the 1st time or the 2nd time....I've never had extra trash but got one of the friendly notes.....would be nice to know what rules apply and when...

Maggie Morrissey 5 years, 2 months ago

I didn't ask for the city to spend millions in trash carts nor requested to utilize one. Before mandated carts sometimes I had two cans out, sometimes one, sometimes one single bag! Now I have to maintain in one cart or pay MORE for a bigger cart???? I don't think so!!!!

Is the City issuing me a credit when we don't fill the cart? When we miss pick up date? When did their job come to be about how its fitting in a cart instead of picking it up and taking it away???

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!!!

Joe Berns 5 years, 2 months ago

I have 3 kids, multiple dogs, my spouse, and myself living in our house. We recycle but also regularly fill up our 90 gallon container. A few weeks ago I had a notice tied to the container that I would need to get a larger container if I continued to have more than would fill the container. I had a large appliance box out one week and a broken big wheel the other week. I don't think they make them larger than 90 gallons unless I rent a dumpster. Give me a freaking break. Never had a problem when we had two 48 gallon containers and we only filled them occasionally.

Maggie Morrissey 5 years, 2 months ago

If you read what was written the cart is not what is ridiculous! The purchase of, mandate usage and everything has to fit in the cart without an increase is ridiculous!

stevemarkcraig 5 years, 2 months ago


Pete_Schweti 5 years, 2 months ago

This would have been useful information OH ABOUT A WEEK AGO.

Thanks for the timely information, LJW.

JackMcKee 5 years, 2 months ago

Less service for the same money. In other words they just jacked up your trash bill by about 100%.

Thank Aaron Cromwell

Have the rest of you caught on to what they did to you yet?

JackMcKee 5 years, 2 months ago

One thing is for certain, Cromwell knows how to manipulate the feeble minded.

sleepy33 5 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe it took Lawrence this long to start placing even the gentlest restrictions on the volume of trash that they will collect. I've always thought it was completely unreal that you could just put out whatever you wanted on trash day, 16 trash cans, loose/unbagged items, construction debris, furniture, what have you, and the city would just haul it off for you. KCMO has had a trash-tag system in place for years and years; you must buy stick-on tags and place them on your trash bags or else the sanitation crew will leave your trash bags there at the curb indefinitely. If you have 30 bags, you have to buy 30 tags. If your stuff isn't bagged, it doesn't get picked up. In OP, it all has to fit in your cart, and they only have 'bulky trash pick up' every other year.

notorious_agenda 5 years, 2 months ago

In All of Johnson County they have biannual large trash days. One is curbside pickup and one is a day to take it to the dump. Warping facts to fit your agenda is an obvious reason to doubt your credibility.

The city never just hauled it off for anyone, If you pay for the service they were providing the service that they were payed for.

sleepy33 5 years, 2 months ago

Afraid not, from the City of OP website: "Overland Park sponsors a large item trash pick up for one half of the city each spring, and special recycling events throughout the year for electronics, paper and Christmas trees."

I did not imply that the city of Lawrence would haul off trash for people who weren't paying for trash service. I'm just saying the unlimited amounts of trash they would haul off was far outside the norm for comparable paid trash service in other cities.

Dan Blomgren 5 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps the city should sell or rent by mandate crystal balls so I can see into the future what my trash needs will be. I rent a container that satisfies my needs 95% of the time. On the rare occasion it's too small (pehaps over a holiday weekend or when I clean out the garage as examples) I would expect my trash department to do their job and pick up my trash especially when I pay for that service every month. Instead I they hung a tag on my container reprimanding me for 'exceeding my usage'. The tag, by the way, I'm sure took longer to fill out then just throwing the extra bag in the truck. I pay for the service so in the future just do your job and pick up the trash. If twice a year I exceed my container I'm sorry, but do your job that I pay for!

cummingshawk 5 years, 2 months ago

With the new sporadic 3 strike system now in place, is this an annual count, reset to zero on the 1st of each year, or for the miscreant's lifetime use/abuse of the trash service?

booklover2 5 years, 2 months ago

This is good to know. I thought it was going to take me the next 6 weeks to get rid of my Christmas trash, parceling it out weekly to fit it all in one container.

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