HomeNewsTrash rules: What you need to know about the recent changes

Trash rules: What you need to know about the recent changes

More than four months into changes for the City of Jackson’s bulk waste pickup, the Heath and Sanitation Department is now receiving more than 175 calls a day, many of them complaints. However, leaders in the department say the new system should be more efficient and easier if residents use it properly. 

This is the second major change to trash pickup in Jackson in three years. In 2020, trash pickup switched to curbside side service, rather than collectors going onto people’s properties.

“I call it a cultural habit. For years, our ordinance didn’t have a lot of guidelines. There were a lot of gray areas,” Leilani Mills, Director of the Health and Sanitation Dept. said regarding the issue. 

She says those ordinances have now been cleaned up to have what she calls good and attainable guidelines around illegal dumping, trash pickup, and bulk waste pickup. 

How do I know what trash I have?

Waste Management has the contract in the City of Jackson to pick up trash twice a week, This includes what fits in the provided green cans, plus small hand piles. Hand piles are small piles of brush and other organic debris, like tree limbs, leaves, and other garden waste. 

According to the Health and Sanitation Dept., bulk waste is the garbage that does not fit in their provided trash can. This is generally furniture, appliances, larger tree limbs, and other larger items. Mills says a bulk waste pile should be smaller than the area of a small SUV.

Bulk waste and construction debris are not the same thing. Construction debris is any trash that is created during remodeling, or other construction: windows, sheet rock, shingles, etc. that debris is supposed to be hauled off by the person doing the work, whether it is a company or homeowner. This also applies to large piles of household trash associated with moving or remodeling. 

“Those folks are supposed to haul off the debris that they produce during their work. And that is in the ordinance and that has been in the ordinance, even prior to the changes that we’ve made,” Mills said, “So if you’ve got landlords that folks have moved out, and they’re redoing their homes, they’re redoing their properties, that whoever’s doing that work has to haul it off, even if it’s the property owner, if it’s construction debris, it’s no longer allowed at the curb.”

What changed to bulk waste pickup?

In January 2023, the City of Jackson introduced new guidelines for bulk waste pickup. The biggest change has to do with scheduling: instead of running on a monthly schedule, residents now need to schedule their pickup. Each household (single family or duplex) that pays their waste pickup bill is entitled to 12 bulk waste pickups every year.

That scheduling can be done through their website, trash.jacksontn.gov or by calling (731) 425-8545.

Mills says the department currently has 10 bulk waste collectors who are currently on schedule to pick up the bulk waste within three days, a much shorter time frame than the previous four weeks. At the pace they are going now, they pick up anywhere from 150 to 200 piles a day. 

Mills says yard waste can be put on the curb seven days before pickup, but bulk waste needs to be curbside no more than two days before pickup.

However, many residents do not know about the changes, and have become frustrated at, what they believe, is the lack of pickup. Mills says, in reality, a call just needs to be made to pick up the trash. 

“This is a transition period, so there’s a lot of folks who don’t know about it or are so used to the routes. But when you call and schedule, we will tell you when we’re going to be there. We have a schedule. It’s just like a doctor’s appointment you call and you say, ‘Hey, I need to see a doctor,’ and they’ll pull it up and let you know what’s available,” Mills said.

Mills also says if you see a pile that has not been dealt with, you may email h&s@jacksontn.gov to report the issue. Just be sure to provide the full address where the trash pile is.

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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