The television series “Hoarders” has both fascinated and appalled audiences at various times over the past decade.
Here in Gastonia, officials are doing their best to prevent any local residents from ever finding themselves on that show.
The city’s means of doing that? It’s called Free Excess Trash Week. And the latest installment of it is coming up pronto, from March 19 to 23.
Gastonia bestows the blessing of collecting extra garbage twice a year, including once in the spring and once in the fall. And Solid Waste Division Manager DeeDee Gillis said there’s no way to overstate how popular the service is.
Curbside garbage customers in Gastonia have been on a “pay as you throw” system for several years now. Throwing away more than you can fit in a rollout trash cart incurs extra fees. But the free weeks involve the city cutting residents some slack.
All eligible items will be picked up, for the most part, on your regularly scheduled collection day. But here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Bag or box it up
Some throwaway items are simply too big to bag. But if it’s small enough to put in a box, a basket, a tote bag, or anything that’s easy for workers to grab, pick up and toss in a truck, the city would appreciate you doing so.
Gillis said putting your smaller pieces of trash in bags makes it easier for workers to pick it up all at one time, instead of doing it piecemeal, which can cause a bigger mess.
“That just makes it faster and quicker for us, and it makes it cleaner for (residents) because little pieces of trash don’t get left on the curb,” she said.
2. Know that everything isn’t free
Yes, it’s a special week. But some throwaway items still don’t get a free pass. That includes tires on rims ($5), tires off rims ($8), appliances ($25) and electronics such as televisions and computers ($25).
If you put any of those items on your curb during Free Excess Trash Week, you’re telling the city you’re willing to be charged, and the fee will show up on your utility bill. Don’t expect someone to knock on your door to make sure you understand the cost.
On the bright side, all household items will be accepted for no charge. That includes bedding, furniture, old lawnmowers with all fluids drained, and even paint cans (as long as there is kitty litter or sand in the bucket).
3. Be timely
Remember that Free Excess Trash Week only begins March 19. So try not to put your garbage out on the curb too long before that.
If your normal trash collection day is every Thursday or Friday, for example, you can put your ‘free’ garbage on the curb this weekend, several days in advance of it being picked up, particularly if you won't have time later. But if you can do it just a day or two before your pickup day, your neighbors might appreciate that.
You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.