Ordinance targets trash pickers

Trash-Barrels

NAUGATUCK — They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Plenty of “treasure” hunters rummage through trash cans or recycling bins in Naugatuck, but their days may be numbered.

Tonight, borough officials will consider an ordinance that would make it illegal to go through someone’s discarded goods. Anyone caught in the act would be fined $100 by police.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses will hold a hearing on the proposed ordinance at 5:45 tonight at Town Hall, 229 Church St. The board is expected to vote on the ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 tonight, also at Town Hall.

The ordinance is being proposed in response to several complaints from residents who say they are not comfortable having someone go through their trash and recycling bins, said Sheila Baummer, Naugatuck’s recycling and solid waste coordinator.

“You can throw your mail in the recycling bin, and it might contain personal information that someone might be able to use,” she said.

The other issues people have are that they have been woken up as early as 4 a.m. by people banging tin cans and bottles together as they rummage through recycling bins, Baummer said.

Sometimes, the pickers dump the contents of their bins into the street, she said.

Naugatuck Public Works crews have encountered people who make them wait to pick up the bins until after they collect all of the cans.

The proposed ordinance states: “Upon placement of recyclables set out for residential curbside collection, or upon delivery to any disposal location designated by the Borough of Naugatuck, it shall be a violation of this section for any person other than the collector or authorized agents of the borough acting in their course of employment, to collect or pick up any such recyclables, or cause the same to be collected or picked up. Violators of this section will be subject to a $100 fine per offense.”

Cesar Sousa, a borough attorney, drafted the ordinance in conjunction with local officials. He said it mirrors similar ordinances in Beacon Falls, Watertown, Trumbull and West Hartford.

Baummer said the intent is not to ask police to enforce every incidence of someone grabbing soda or beer cans from a recycling bin.

“This is intended for people who have created a nuisance or generated a complaint from the residence,” she said.

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