December 8, 2021

Trash heavy at holidays

Haulers report increase in rubbish and recycling

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

Ray Kohlhepp, who works for Bert Adams Disposal, the city’s trash hauler, collects recycling on Union Street early Friday afternoon.

Christmas is over, and New Year’s is here.

These are the dark days of winter, when employee absenteeism is high, and workplace morale at a seasonal low.

But this time of year is also known for something else — the large volume of trash that people generate.

“All around, it’s a lot more,” said Bert Adams, the city of Cortland’s contracted trash hauler. “I know that the piles at the curb are a lot bigger.”

That goes for recycling, too. Early Friday afternoon, one of Adams’ workers, Ray Kohlhepp, was still out picking up recycling on Union Street.

Normally, Adams’ workers are done with their runs by noon, but the piles of recycling on the south side of the city looked a lot larger than usual Friday, and Kohlhepp was doing all the work himself — driving the truck and picking up the recycling to boot.

“The first two weeks after the holiday … will be heavy throughout the whole industry, both residentially and commercially,” Adams said.

The first discarded Christmas trees have also started appearing curbside on city streets, but a little prematurely, because the city won’t start picking them up until the week of Jan. 6 to Jan. 10, said Nic Dovi, deputy superintendent of public works.

“Just put it on the curb on or before your regularly scheduled garbage day, and we’ll come and grab them,” Dovi said.

The county landfill also sees a higher volume of trash than it typically receives, said Charles Sudbrink, Cortland County highway superintendent.

“Usually it’s the holiday season and late May when the college kids move out,” he said.

But the spike in trash volume does not affect operations at the landfill, Sudbrink said.

“We can handle quite a bit more than we’re accepting right now,” he said.