A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Our new trash guide: Fun reading

Written January 4th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Here’s a photo from August 2019. Just where are trash cans supposed to go?

Throwing stuff away and having it hauled off used to be simple. Now it’s not exactly a science, but judging by Republic Service’s “2022 Residential Recycling, Yard Waste & Compost Guide,” it takes some study to do it right.

The guide just came in the mail to the disposal company’s Albany customers. If you got one, you know what I mean. There are plenty of dos and don’ts in the departments of recycling, yard waste, trash, and hazardous waste. There’s also a fun fact or two.

For example, you’re not to discard “radioactive materials.” Stands to reason. But “including smoke alarms”?  Who knew?

The guide reminds us that Republic will pick up Christmas trees left at the curb on trash day for two weeks after Christmas. “Trees should be no larger than 6″ in diameter.” Those would be pretty tiny trees. Oh, maybe they meant the diameter of the trunk.

There is  also the matter of where to put out the carts on trash day. “Do not,” the guide says, “block cars, bike lanes, mailboxes, sidewalks or driveways.”

Some Albany streets have both bike lanes and narrow sidewalks. Salem Avenue, shown in the photo above from three years ago, is an example. People on those streets have no choice. Their carts block either the bike lane or the walk.

To minimize problems, the guide says, “Remove carts as soon as possible after collection.” Easier said than done unless you stand by all day at the window until the trucks come by. Some weeks they come at the crack of dawn, and other weeks not till the afternoon.

This drawing of the recommended cart placement had me going for a second:


The frontal view of the car suggests a row of carts stretching from the planter strip into the middle of the street. Oh wait, no. They mean ALONG the street. Of course.

Actually, this trash and recycling guide is a useful reminder of good practices when it comes to waste disposal. Read it if you haven’t already.

But it’s hard not to think back to the old days, when the trash truck would come with two guys. One would drive the truck, and the other would come up the steps to the house, carry the can down, empty it into the back of the truck, and then bring it back up.

It sounds like the Middle Ages, though it was only 40-some years ago. Just imagine how much that would cost today. (hh)

14 responses to “Our new trash guide: Fun reading”

  1. Teresa says:

    This made me smile! Yes, recycling has become way too complicated. And if my neighbor parks in the street where my carts usually go, I have two choices. Do not put them out that week or I place them at the end of my driveway. LOL. And if they don’t come till later in the day then I can’t leave as I have blocked myself in if they are at the end of my driveway LOL oh and I remember when they use to pick up trash from your house and put the can back after it was emptied. Yup I am that many years old LOL.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    The graphic on the ‘how to’ is interesting. I would have liked to be in that meeting when they were negotiating the measurements! Hope they had lattes!

  3. Rolland says:

    That 14’ clearance above the trash/recycle bins will be a tough one in many old Albany Neighborhoods, those with older large trees hanging over the street. It doesn’t take long driving through them to know the City doesn’t really maintain those to a standard height for the passing traffic. Those driving large trucks or RVs already know this.

    • Abe Cee says:

      It’s not the City’s job to keep them trimmed per city code:

      7.98.130 Pruning, corner clearance.
      Every owner of any tree, located on private property, overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City shall prune the branches so the branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection, traffic sign, or traffic control device, and so that there shall be a clear space of 14 feet above street surface, and eight feet above the sidewalk surface. Said owner shall remove all dead, diseased, or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs that constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The City shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the light from any street lamp, or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or vision clearance area at intersections and driveways. Tree limbs that grow within 10 feet of high voltage electrical conductors shall be maintained clear of such conductors by the electric utility company in compliance with any applicable franchise agreements and AMC 7.98.110, Private utility tree policy. (Ord. 5948 § 1 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 5495 § 1, 2001; Ord. 5096 § 2, 1993. Formerly 7.98.080).

      • Hasso Hering says:

        This refers to trees on private property, not those growing in the public right of way.

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          For trees in the public right-of-way that are in violation, will the city punish itself as prescribed in Chapter 1.04 of the AMC?

          Or is this a “rules for thee but not for me” situation?

  4. thomas earl cordier says:

    I do not– will not put my containers in the street. They’ll remain on the sidewalk which is right at the curb. Those using the sidewalk will just have to move over. Don’t want bikes or vehicles to move over.

  5. Richard Vannice says:

    While I was perusing their pamphlet it was noticed that they made no “request” to breakdown cardboard boxes. Sure it takes time but it is possible to reduce the size of those boxes so they will fit easily in the cart instead of leaving large voids inside the cart the lid can be closed and the contents kept dry,

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Correct – It takes a *minimal* amount of time to breakdown the boxes and doing so results in much more room to put additional paper products for recycling. I have a handy razor-blade box cutter to do so…

  6. Bill Kapaun says:

    They no longer pick up used motor oil. Apparently they think people will drive across town to deliver it to them? Good luck with that.

    I hope they feel good about dumping an empty lawn cart approx. 40 times/yr. instead of approx. 12 times/yr. when there was actually something in it.

    • Bob Woods says:

      No motor oil or gasoline when you drive an electric. Ditto on spark plugs, tune-up’s, transmission service, and engine air filter replacement.

      Mostly you just replace windshield wipers, rotate the tires and refill the windshield washer fluid. You need to check the coolant fluid on the batteries/electronics and brakes and replace it every 5 years or 120,000 miles or so.

      Oh yeah, regenerative braking makes brakes last a LOT longer, but they should be inspected regularly.


      • Dala Rouse says:

        Bob I thought I would do a little research on electric cars as I wondered how long the batteries last in an electric car before having to be replaced. According to CarFax electric cars usually come with 100,000 warranty or 10 years. It also says in hotter climates will typically experience faster battery depletion and also fast charging station charging for 30 minutes will also cause faster depletion too. I checked with True Car adviser what the average cost to replace the electric car batteries and it said it was around $5,500. I can buy a lot of gasoline for that or I could have until gas prices went up. My neighbor has electric car and was told to replace his batteries would be $6,000. I guess I would suggest don’t buy used electric car if it is getting close to 100,000 miles.

  7. David Smith says:

    I completely missed that they no longer pick up used oil. Thankfully, I only have one vehicle that I change the oil on every six months, per manufacture’s recommendation. But did you notice that now say have your containers out by 5:00 AM? Unless I’m mistaken the “rule” used to be 7:00AM. I doubt we will see refuse collection that early, maybe they are trying to get us to put the containers out the night before, which I do anyway. I did note a change in collection for the first pickup of the year, both garbage and recycling were picked up fairly earlier, maybe before 10:00Am. Used to be recycling went first and garbage was picked up later in the day. A word to the wise.

    • A.B. says:

      Our yard waste bin is almost always picked up around 05:30, and the recycle truck is usually around 06:40 out in Tangent. I’ve had a handful of panic moments over the years when I’m getting ready for work and my foggy brain tries to remember if I set the bins out the night before or not!


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