Grass-only dumpters collecting more than clippings

Jess Oaks
Posted 5/24/24

TORRINGTON – In a recent Facebook post, the Torrington Police Department (TPD) reminded the community, dumping trash and other waste into the dumpsters clearly marked “grass clippings …

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Grass-only dumpters collecting more than clippings


TORRINGTON – In a recent Facebook post, the Torrington Police Department (TPD) reminded the community, dumping trash and other waste into the dumpsters clearly marked “grass clippings only,” within the city limits is illegal.

“As mowing season kicks into full gear in our community, we wanted to provide a quick reminder about the importance of not putting trash, or other waste, into the dumpsters that are labeled for grass clippings only,” TPD said. “In order for the City of Torrington sanitation program to be compliant, efficient, and cost-effective, it is essential for us to divert yard and landscape waste away from the landfill.”

The city provides dumpsters for grass clippings, free of charge, throughout Torrington to help area residents keep their yard clean. However, the grass clippings are also used by the city as compost.

“The grass clippings are collected regularly and composted so that they can be used again. It is critically important that only grass clippings are put into the grass dumpsters. If the clippings are mixed with trash, branches, cardboard, or any other waste, they cannot be composted,” the TPD post reads. “Contaminated clippings have to be taken to the landfill, which costs our community more money, and increases our use of the landfill.”

During the Torrington City Council meeting held on Tuesday, May 21, Ed Hawley, city streets and sanitation superintendent, reaffirmed the importance of using the grass clipping only dumpsters appropriately. 

“I just wanted to let you know, it is kind of early in grass season, as we all know. We had a good year last year in composting and it is starting out trashy this year,” Hawley said. “We have already dumped more than we have saved. I would also like to mention that the dumpsters are for municipal solid waste not C&D (construction and demolition) and we have dumped tons and tons of lumber into our baler.” 

Hawley went on to explain the equipment used by streets and sanitations is not prepared to handle what is not allowed to be dumped in the dumpsters. 

“We damaged a truck because the lumber got caught in there,” Hawley explained. “I wish the public could learn.”

Hawley further explained construction and demolition wastes are not allowed to be dumped in dumpsters.

“We would rather you bring it to the baler and pay the $15 or $20 whatever it is or take it to the landfill and pay by the pound,” Hawley said. “I know people don’t want to do that because we have had eight-foot walls, five foot wide, standing in the dumpsters. It took somebody a lot of effort to cut them down and put them in there and I have to send somebody out to get them out because I can’t dump them that way.”

Hawley advised the council the lumber which was eventually run through the baler didn’t damage the baler, but the truck will be needing repairs.

“We got it [lumber] fed through the baler and busted up but the truck, when it caught the side of the truck and the dumpster, something had to give and unfortunately it was the hook on the truck. That happens pretty regular. More than we’d like it.”

“Please make sure that only grass clippings are deposited into the grass dumpsters. If you have other yard waste that you need to dispose of, it can be taken to the City of Torrington Baler Facility on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This service is free of charge for residents of Torrington,” TPD said in their post. “It is also important to remember that the City of Torrington Sanitation Services are for residents of Torrington who pay for city utilities. If you are not a resident of Torrington, it is illegal for you to deposit your household garbage in the city dumpsters. It is also illegal to dump trash or yard waste anywhere in our community, except in approved receptacles,” the Facebook post continued. 

TPD also mentioned officers will be monitoring different grass and waste locations and the fines for illegal dumping are up to $750.

If you see someone dumping trash illegally in our community, please contact the Torrington Police Department at 307-532-7001.