Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Let's Talk Trash 2: from Mascaro & Sons

Sam Augustine of Mascaro & Sons left a comment on the blog I posted last week about trash. I figured many of you might not see it, so I'm reposting it today. It answers some of the questions I had. I should add that if you have problems on your block with trash piling up and you suspect it's one of the cases mentioned below that isn't covered in Mascaro's contract, you should report it to the Codes Department at 610-270-0441or file a complaint online at this link. The more people who complain about a property, the more likely the complaint won't be ignored.

Mr. Augustine's letter:

My name is Sam Augustine and I am Director of Sales and Marketing for J. P. Mascaro & Sons and, as such, I oversee our company’s municipal bidding. I have been with the company for over 30 years and have been involved in every one of Norristown’s trash bids and contracts during that time.

I wanted to clear up any confusion on the new contract that we will be starting on April 1, 2015. You are correct that there will be two (2) sixty-four (64) gallon toters, one for trash and one for recyclables. The toter for the recyclables will have a different color lid to distinguish it from the toter to be used for trash. In addition, every household will be able to put out two additional 35-gallon containers of trash. This will definitely help clean up Norristown. But you are right that our company, along with Norristown, will have to educate the residents on this new program. We plan to go to the elementary schools, community and civic groups to present an educational program on this new contract.

As for items left at curbs, such as televisions and larger items, we are unable to collect electronic devices (TVs, stereos, microwaves, etc.), and by law they cannot go into a landfill. Homeowners have to make special arrangements to get those items collected. The best thing for homeowners to do is to take those items to big box stores (like Best Buy) that are required to accept them for recycling purposes. But when you see them at the curb, it is not because we missed collecting them, but rather residents are not following the proper procedures. In fact, the collection crew tags a TV (or other electronic device) every time it is put at curbside, informing the homeowner that we do not pick the item up and telling how and where they can dispose of the TV (or other electronic device).

We also do not collect household clean-outs where residents clean out a garage or basement or when they move in or move out. Our current contract requires us to pick up four 35-gallon containers of trash per household. We don’t hold Norristown to the letter of that contract and often pick up five, six or seven containers. However, when the amount of trash placed at curbside is so voluminous that it is not just routine weekly-generated trash, we tag it with a note for the resident and they have to make special arrangements to have it removed at an additional price. Norristown Administration is aware of this as well, as we inform them if there are excessive amounts of trash put out by homeowners. So, when you see those large volumes of trash at the curb, again, it is not because we missed it, but rather that it is not our responsibility to collect.

We also are not required to collect multi-unit establishments. When a house is converted into multiple apartments (more than four units), it is not considered a residential stop, and the owner is required to contract for separate service with a company of its choice. So, oftentimes when you see items left at curbside, it is not necessarily because we missed it or failed to pick it up, but rather because we are not supposed to pick it up for the reasons above.

I hope this clears up any confusion. The Administration and Council worked very hard on this new program that is to take effect April 1st and we are confident that, together with a properly rolled out educational program, it will be a success, especially since under the new contract, there is a recycling incentive program where all residents will benefit by increased recycling. More information on that will be supplied to each household later this month.

Thank you for your interest in Norristown’s contract.


  1. The Borough negotiates a contract with Mascaro & Sons, but how does Mascaro & Sons get paid ? Do they get paid by the Borough or by the Property owner ?

  2. For the properties under that contract, Mascaro is paid by the Municipality using the tax money from property owners. For other properties--apartment buildings, certain businesses, etc.--those property owners find their own trash collection service and pays for them independently.

  3. I was just curious as to how they calculated the tax revenue for different size apartment units. Over 4 units they are required to get their own private hauler. I seen where some communities have a bag system and you purchase bags and you basically pay by the amount of trash you generate, if you generate more trash you have to buy more bags, this also induces you to recycle more so that you don't throw everything in with general trash.

  4. Thank you for the information. When will receive the two, 64-gallon toters? Will they be delivered or do we need to pick them up from somewhere?

  5. As the new program is scheduled to begin in less than 3 weeks, when will the educational sessions for elementary schools and community/civic groups take place? Where will residents who are not able to attend these sessions learn about the new program?

  6. When our recycling program began a few years ago, we were told that, eventually, our town would begin to receive credits or kickbacks for adhering to a town-wide recycling program that would translate into savings for residents. When and where will residents begin to see such benefits as savings as a result of the recycling program?