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Residents have new option for those big trash items

Merced’s new Bulky Item Drop-Off site will help residents throughout the year with some of their trash problems, but it will not replace the annual Spring Clean Up.

The old couch, the grungy mattress, the broken fridge or old washer and dryer are perfect candidates for the site. The site also will take e-waste.

“This isn’t for all household waste,” cautions the City of Merced’s Recycling Coordinator Monique Gama. “This is only for those bulky items that won’t fit in your household container, unlike Spring Clean Up where you can bring all kinds of trash.”

That trash, the usual household garbage, the recycling and the leaves, grass clippings, tree branches and other green waste still needs to go into the regular containers at a resident’s house. People can also take it down the road to the Highway 59 Landfill. Household hazardous waste is another item not accepted at the Drop-Off site but can be taken to the landfill.

The Bulky Item Drop-Off site is located at the corner of No. Hwy 59 and Yosemite Ave. The Drop-Off site is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. It opened for business Oct. 1.

People using the Bulky Item Drop-Off site need to be a City residential service customer and bring two forms of ID. Those are a driver’s license or ID card and a utility bill. Acceptable utility bills are City of Merced Water, Sewer and Garbage bills, PG&E or MID power bills.

In addition to being used for dropping off trash, the City’s Public Works Department is using the site for its Street Sweeping program and for light maintenance on some of its street equipment. The land had been the former Boulders Unlimited site.

The Department saw the property as an opportunity to accomplish several goals.

“We have a lot of illegal dumping in town and we hope that people will use this as a place to legally get rid of some of their bulky items,” said Public Works Director Ken Elwin. “And we wanted to provide additional service to our customers since Spring Clean Up is only once a year.

“We also had needs in our Department, and there was space on the property, so we could handle the Street Sweeping and the light maintenance,” Elwin said.

Gama said staff analyzed what was being picked up at the illegal dump sites. “A lot of it was sofas, chairs, tires or random things they couldn’t put in their containers at home, and they didn’t want to take it to the landfill,” she said.

There is a Public Works crew that circulates throughout the City, picking the materials people are dumping illegally in alleys, at the curbs and in roads. “We’re getting pretty good at it, so many times we’re getting there before people call us,” Gama said, “But we don’t see everything.”

Many of the items will be diverted to other uses, like the e-waste, metals, and the like. The things that can’t be recycled will be hauled to the landfill.

If the Bulky Item Drop-Off site doesn’t solve a resident’s refuse problems, Gama said there are other solutions. The landfill is about four miles down the road, and it can handle all of the disposal needs, including hazardous waste.

The city also has options that include renting dumpsters and roll-offs, depending on the size of the project and how much stuff a resident will need hauled away. Another option is to order an extra collection for the trash container. Contact the Public Works Department for more information on those options.

For questions about the site or to talk about trash pickup options, call the Public Works Department at 209-385-6800 or got to the “Got Trash? Tab” under the Public Works Department at the website: cityofmerced.org

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