Trash: The ghost of Christmas past

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Ted Sullivan
Sunday, January 4, 2009
— It’s what’s left of your Christmas morning, your New Year’s Eve party or your Christmas tree.

It’s the wrapping paper from your favorite present, the champagne bottle from your New Year’s toast, the dry pine needles from your carpet.

Although it represents a festive time for you, someone has to dispose of your mess.

And city garbage and landfill workers are here to do it.

“I’d say there is double the amount of trash at each stop,” said David Burke, city trash and recycling foreman. “I don’t think anyone had a bad Christmas.”

Garbage collectors work extra hours and have additional trucks to handle the influx of trash after the holidays, Burke said.

Often, they’re out there working in blustery conditions.

“It’s tough because of the ice, it’s tough because of the snow banks and because of the cold and wind chill,” Burke said.

And then there’s the heavy lifting.

“It is a lot on their arms and backs,” he said. “You’re doing a lot more bending and throwing.”

Jeff Ziegelmann, a landfill scale house attendant, said traffic always increases after Christmas.

Several people have been arriving at the landfill to dump artificial Christmas trees, lights and decorations, Ziegelmann said.

They drop their trash at the landfill because they don’t want to wait for their garbage pickup date or they’re leaving town, he said.

“People are bringing in three or four bags at a time,” Ziegelmann said. “(The bags) don’t fit in their cans or they don’t want to leave it for the trash guy.”

Although the landfill is busier after the holidays, it isn’t overwhelming.

“It’s no big deal,” Ziegelmann said. “Even with the extra stuff, it’s slower than it is in the summer.”

People can dump their Christmas trees at the landfill or leave them at the curb, said Mandy Bonneville, the city’s assistant operations director.

The landfill has a large container for dumping Christmas trees, she said. The trees must be bare without any tinsel or decorations.

Residents also can leave their trees at the curb, Bonneville said. Trees must be cut into sections no longer than 4 feet.

“Typically, the week or so after Christmas gets busier,” she said. “Christmas seems to generate more waste.”


If you haul your Christmas trees and holiday waste to the landfill …

Where: The Janesville city landfill, 525 Black Bridge Road.

When: 8 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Monday; 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday.

Fees: Fewer than 60 gallons, no charge; a load carried in a passenger car, $2.50; minivans and sport utility vehicles, $3.25; vans and midsize pickup trucks and trailers, $5.25; full-size pickup trucks and trailers, $7.50; other vehicles, $21.80 per ton.

To learn more: Call city services, (608) 755-3110.

If you dispose of Christmas trees at home …

Where: On the curb for Janesville residents

When: Same day as garbage pickup

Regulations: Trees must be cut into 4-foot sections

To learn more: Call city services, (608) 755-3110.

Last updated: 9:31 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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