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Peterborough students leave behind ‘mountains’ of waste when they move out

Click to play video 'Trash at the curb.' Trash at the curb.
Departing college and university students leave behind small mountains of large articles in front of houses they were renting – May 3, 2018

It’s that time of year again when college and university students have finished school and are leaving town.

And some are leaving behind quite a mess that troubles the city of Peterborough.

“We’re quite busy this time of the year,” said Virginia Swinson, head of waste diversion for the city.

George Street, a popular place for student rentals, is also a dumping ground for unwanted items, among them sofas, mattresses and furniture.

READ MORE: Guelph’s ‘Clean and Green’ scoops up 3,000 kg of garbage

Swinson says there are size and weight guidelines as to what can be kicked to the curb. “Anything that’s greater than 50 pounds or 23 kilograms or longer than about three feet — those do not qualify for your normal, regular garbage set outs.”

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So who is responsible for what Swinson calls “small mountains” of large articles left behind?

“Ultimately, it’s the landlord’s responsibility, where these students have been living, to ensure there is no waste put out in front of the property unless it has been properly paid for or is just regular waste on a garbage day,” she said.

Peterborough offers six days a year between April and September when oversize and overweight articles can be placed at the curb as trash, typically the third Monday of the month. There is a nominal fee and appointments must be made in advance, either at city hall or online.

What happens if landlords don’t follow that process, and simply dump the items at the curb?

“Typically with one, maybe two letters from our office to the landlords, we see the problem get resolved,” Swinson says.

“Once and awhile, we do have to escalate it to the legal department, but not very often. So we’re hoping that most of the mess people are seeing now within the next week or so at least will be cleaned up.”

 

The city’s Spring Environment Day is on Saturday, May 12th at the Eastgate Parking Lot at 2150 Ashburnham Drive. It runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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This year the city will be accepting:

• Textiles – including clothing (good or non-usable), drapes, towels, sheets, shoes, pillows, stuffed toys, shoes, belts and more
• Video and audio tapes, DVD’s and CD’s and vinyl records
• Any appliance with a cord
• Hard covered books
• Scrap metal
• Computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronics.

No commercial loads will be accepted. The event is open to city households only.