Trash, Recycling, And Yard Debris Collection Issues

By Joe Scavuzzo, Director, Department of Public Works

Many of us have the weekly ritual of placing trash and recycling at our curb the evening before collection day and on Tuesday evenings for yard debris. I’m fairly certain that the enjoyment of bestowing this duty upon one’s children is a contributing factor for bringing life into this world. The certainty of the task itself is right up there on the list with other inevitabilities like death and taxes. This chore has to happen whether it’s hot or cold; rainy or dry; or if you’re tired, sick, or just feeling lazy!

The absolute worst thing is when you arrive home from work on a collection day and your house, or even the entire block, was missed. Each and every day, our secretary and sanitation inspector address phone calls and e-mails regarding trash issues. With thousands of collections being performed weekly, less than a hundred or so are missed due to an oversight with the Township’s contractor, Waste Management. It’s a pretty good performance considering the size of the town. However, there are times when performance is just not up to snuff. During these occurrences, I request that you contact our office and explain the situation and not approach the driver. There is a route manager at Waste Management that the Department of Public Works coordinates with to address and correct issues.

On the other hand, there are limits, according to the contract between the Township and Waste Management, to both the quantity of trash to be disposed of and the type of material that you’re looking to pitch. Typically, if a stop was “missed,” it could be the result of a Waste Management employee deciding that the items were improperly placed at the curb or that trash and recycling were co-mingled. On yard debris day, a pile of unbundled or overweight bundles may be the reason they were left behind.

In recent months, our office has been implementing a proactive approach to these instances. In the past, your phone call or e-mail to us would begin the conversation. Now, we require Waste Management to communicate WHY they won’t pick something up by giving us the address (and photos at times) of an “over-the-limit” or “improper curbside placement.” This allows us to judge the appropriate course of action. Sometimes, we find no issue with a homeowner placement and send Waste Management back out.

You may find one of Public Works’ “trash informational packets” in your door or mailbox, with your attention drawn to the particular subject that you may be out of compliance with and how to rectify the situation for the following week’s collection. This does two things: it eliminates the guesswork on the resident’s end, bringing to light exactly what needs to happen to resolve the issue; and it helps to create a game plan for a specific location and have an answer if the resident or a neighbor calls in with a concern. This typically occurs with move-outs, where a renter dumps the majority of their unwanted items at the curb and takes off. We contact the legal owner of the property and start a timeline for citation purposes. If you would like to stop by our office, located at 6725 Wayne Ave., and pick-up a trash informational packet, feel free to do so. If getting around is difficult, we’ll drop one off for you.

This particular subject could take three pages for me to go through. In an attempt to save the sanity of the editor of All Around Pennsauken, I can summarize by simply saying this… if you have a question, call us! Each situation is basically the same: you have something you want to get rid of and we can tell you how to make it happen. From TVs, old paint and stains, even that unused exercise equipment your husband promised he’d use; one call does it all! To contact the Department of Public Works, call (856) 663-0178 or e-mail

Department Of Public Works Office Summer Schedule

Our office hours are currently from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The regular 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. schedule will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

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