MUSCATINE, Iowa – Spring Cleanup Week is no more … at least for the 2020 calendar year. During a presentation to the Muscatine City Council on January 9, Director of the Department of Public Works Brian Stineman and Solid Waste Manager David Popp revealed a plan that could save the City money and perhaps alleviate unsightly oversized, and potentially hazardous piles of bulky waste throughout the City of Muscatine.
“There will not be any need to stockpile unwanted bulky items for that one week of the year,” Popp said. “Instead you will be able to call the Transfer Station and schedule a pickup of those bulky items on your refuse collection day.”
Spring Cleanup Week was held the third week in April for the past several years. With the consent of the Muscatine City Council that designated week has been sent to the recycle bin.
Instead the city will offer residents of Muscatine and Fruitland unlimited bulky waste curbside collection on the resident’s refuse collection day at no additional charge on a call-in to schedule basis. The City anticipates a “soft opening” for the new bulky waste pickup policy the first week of February.
Residents wanting a bulky waste pickup need to call or email the Muscatine Transfer Station to schedule the pickup. The City is in the process of establishing a dedicated phone number and email address for scheduling bulky waste pickups. Until that process is complete, residents can call the Transfer Station (563-263-9689) for additional information or to schedule a pickup.
“If you call in and get the answering machine we will call you back,” Popp said. “If you email us, we will call you. Our effort will be to schedule the appropriate time for pickup and to ensure that the items being placed out for collection are allowable.”
If residents have a large amount of bulky waste items they would like collected by the City, multiple pickups can be scheduled to keep the piles to a more manageable size for both the resident and City staff.
The Department of Public Works will collect unwanted items and take them to the Muscatine Transfer Station for disposal. Once a pickup is scheduled with the City, residents will be permitted to place the unwanted items curbside the night before their regular refuse collection day or by 5:00 a.m. on the collection day.
Businesses are not eligible for this service.
Rampant abuse of Spring Cleanup Week was one of the reasons that City staff sought a change in the process.
“We have seen bigger and bigger piles appear throughout the City that caused delays and extra expense in the collection efforts,” Stineman said. “A lot of times piles of unwanted items were set out weeks in advance and that was pretty unsightly and made worse by those who would pick through the piles and leave items strewn about.”
Another reason for the change was the cost in equipment and employee time.
“The cleanup week collection required assistance from multiple divisions and the use of temporary workers,” Stineman said. “And it took away resources that should have been used for roadway maintenance projects.”
In the past the City has used 13 full time employees, nine temporary employees, and 14 pieces of equipment from the Department of Public Works along with eight full time employees, 17 temporary employees, and eight pieces of equipment from the Solid Waste Division.
“Going to a program where we schedule pickups on resident’s regular refuse collection day allows us to limit the workload to just two employees and one piece of equipment,” Popp said. “Having residents call in to schedule pickups will make better use of our time and of residents’ time.”
Stineman and Popp estimate that up to 20 loads per day can be picked up with one truck and two staff members.
Rules established for cleanup week will be used in the year round bulky waste collection effort.
Once Muscatine and Fruitland residents schedule a pickup, bulky waste items like furniture, carpet, dismantled swing sets, and small amounts of building materials can be placed curbside for collection by the City no sooner than a day before the scheduled collection. Small items such as household decorations should be bagged.
In addition, residents will be able to set out two appliances per year (washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, microwave, or dishwasher) and have those appliances picked up for free. Camper refrigerators and camper air conditioning units are excluded from curbside pickup. Standard refrigerators and freezers need to have the doors removed for safety.
Additional appliances can be scheduled for pick up after the payment of a $10 fee per appliance. Fees can be paid at the Transfer Station, the Finance Department at Muscatine City Hall, or at the Department of Public Works.
Piles of unwanted bulky waste should be no more than 10 feet long, four feet wide, and two feet high, or about the size of a pickup truck load.
In addition, mattresses that are set out for pickup are required to be placed in mattress bags that are available for free from the Transfer Station, at City Hall, or at the Public Works office.
“It seemed residents hoarded items all year and then set out everything for the Cleanup Week,” Stineman said. “And the piles did not conform to size.”
Popp suggested another avenue for residents who have items they no longer want.
“Many items we see in these piles could have donated to local thrift stores so that they can be refurbished and obtained by those who have a need but cannot afford new items,” Popp said. “That is beneficial in two ways as it helps those in need and reduces the amount of material that is taken to the landfill.”
If a resident calls in to schedule a pickup, however, the City will collect and dispose of the items placed curbside.
Yard waste must be in City of Muscatine yard waste bags. Brush tied in bundles no larger than 18 inches in diameter and four feet in length will also be picked up on a call-in basis.
Items that will not be accepted for curbside pickup include torn down buildings (such as garages), car bodies, large trees or stumps, concrete (can be dropped off for no cost at the Public Works Yard on Washington Street), paint and other hazardous chemicals (accepted at the Transfer Station at no cost year round), and motor oil and antifreeze (accepted at the Transfer Station for no cost year round).
The following items will not be picked up curbside but will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee with proof of residency: car and/or light truck tires (maximum of 4) without rims, electronic waste items (maximum 3); propane gas tanks; and, camper refrigerators and camper air conditioners.
Proof of residency is required (such as the Compost Facility sticker or driver’s license) at the Transfer Station.
The Transfer Station is open 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.