Henrico modifies Community Cleanup program to address rising costs, dumping

Free service provides bulky waste collection to qualifying mature communities

In response to rising costs, suspected improper dumping and other concerns, Henrico County is modifying a program that offers qualifying older neighborhoods a day of free curbside pickup of bulky waste, including mattresses, appliances, electronics and small amounts of yard debris.

The Community Cleanup program is being revamped ahead of this month’s start of the collection season, which typically extends from March to October. The changes being implemented include flyers mailed directly to residents to notify them of their pickup date, strict adherence to the items that can be collected and the occasional use of large bins to receive an area’s drop-offs.

“Since launching in Lakeside in 1996, the Community Cleanup program has helped dozens of Henrico neighborhoods remain attractive and vibrant by offering their residents free, convenient disposal of old appliances, furniture and other bulky waste,” said Paul A. Johnson, community maintenance manager for the Department of Community Revitalization. “In fact, this service has been so popular that we now face escalating costs and other challenges that must be addressed. The changes being implemented are necessary to ensure the program is sustainable and perhaps can be expanded to other communities, as originally intended. We ask residents to strictly adhere to these changes, particularly as they relate to items that can and cannot be accepted.”

The Community Cleanup program is currently offered in 62 areas countywide that meet certain criteria, such as a maturing housing stock, a majority of residents who are at least 62 years old and households with limited incomes. Collections are scheduled either once or twice per year or once every other year.

The program is projected to cost $1.2 million in fiscal 2019-20, about double its budget. The rising costs are a result of the large amounts of collected waste, including 3,120 tons in 2019. Officials attribute some of the volume to misuse of the program, specifically by contractors and individuals who live outside the collection areas as well as by residents who set out items that do not meet the program’s criteria.

As a result, the program is being modified in the following ways, and other changes may be considered in the future.

Notifications: Residents will receive a flyer in the mail to let them know their area’s scheduled pickup date is approaching. In the past, residents were alerted by postcards sent to their homes as well as by signs posted in the community and a schedule published online.

Schedule: The collection schedule is being varied. An area’s pickup date may no longer fall on or near the same weekend it has in the past. In addition, items may not be placed curbside more than three days before a collection day. To be picked up, items must be set out by 7 a.m. on the collection day.

Frequency: Areas may not receive service with the same frequency they have in the past. For example, Highland Springs will be scheduled for one cleanup, rather than two.

Dumpster staging: Lakeside will continue to have two cleanups, but one will employ a large bin, rather than curbside service. Residents will be required to deliver all items to the bin for disposal.

Items acceptable for pickup: Small amounts of yard debris (tree branches must be no more than 4 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter, and all yard debris must be separated from other waste); appliances, including ovens, dishwashers, washers and dryers (doors must be removed or secured); small discards must be in a box or another disposable container weighing no more than 50 pounds; electronics, including computer monitors and TVs; tires, excluding wheels (passenger vehicles only, limit two); furniture and mattresses. All items combined must be able to fit into the bed of a standard pickup truck without exceeding the height of its cab.

Items not acceptable for pickup: Large amounts of yard debris, including tree branches, stumps, logs and root balls; household waste; hazardous or liquid waste; paint, oil or gasoline; pesticides; vehicle batteries or parts; construction or demolition debris; lawnmowers; glass, mirrors or windows; and HVAC equipment.

Responsibility for items not collected: Any resident who fails to adhere to the program’s requirements will be responsible for the removal of all uncollected items.

For more information about the Community Cleanup program, go online or call (804) 501-4757.

Henrico also offers a bulky waste pickup service that is available to residents countywide upon request for $43. To place an order or for details, go online or call (804) 501-4275.

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