On the heels of the news that at the end of the year, New Bedford residents will have to pay to have mattresses and box springs picked up from their homes by the city’s waste hauler, Councilor at Large Brian Gomes is looking for a way to keep residents from having to incur the costs.

“It seems like another service taken away from the people,” Gomes said in an appearance Monday on WBSM. “The people of this city pay high taxes. To pick up those items – I thought it was a good thing, because it kept our city clean.”

On November 1, a new rule goes into effect across Massachusetts that mattresses and box springs must be recycled rather than placed into landfills. In addition, certain textiles such as clothing, bedding, footwear, towels, curtains, fabric and similar items cannot be thrown in the trash.

The City of New Bedford has extended the deadline for having mattresses or box springs picked up at no charge to December 31, but as of January 1, the costs will be passed on to the resident.

Gomes said he thinks that will worsen a problem that is already beginning to become an issue once again.

“I think this is going to be a serious problem that I’m already looking at and seeing throughout the city,” Gomes said. “It seems like we’re going back in time by doing this.”

Gomes said he remembers when, prior to ABC Disposal taking over trash pickup in the city, bulky items were just left out on the streets or dumped in various locations.

“At one time, we had dumping going on all across the city,” he said.

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Gomes has filed a motion for this coming Thursday’s New Bedford City Council meeting to address the issue.

“We’ve got to have the (waste hauler) in, we’ve got to talk to them, and I also want to take a look at this contract and see if this was a friendly thing that ABC did with us, or whether is part of the contract, and I would think the new hauler would live up to that contract until a new contract is negotiated,” Gomes said.

The current contract with ABC Disposal – a company purchased by E.L Harvey earlier this year – expires in 2023. The City of New Bedford was victorious in court against ABC Disposal when the hauler tried to pass increased recycling costs onto the City, which went against the current contract.

“People are paying taxes and a simple thing like getting rid of household goods – this is going to cause us a big problem,” Gomes said. “You want to make sure that they're going somewhere and they’re not ending up on the streets.”

Contributed Photo
Contributed Photo

Gomes’ motion will also address fast food restaurants in the city.

“We implemented that all fast food places have barrels with scoops at the beginning of their drive-thru and at the end of their drive-thru, and a lot are not in compliance with this,” he said. “I’m looking to have the Board of Health issue 30-day letters to implement what we have tried to put in place and make sure we keep our city’s streets clean.”

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