Trashing the Elderly - Granite Grok

Trashing the Elderly

Casalla Trash pickup bins

Kensington, NH, recently switched to an automated trash and recycling collection system. I copied the following from the Town’s website:

The Town of Kensington has entered into an agreement with Casella Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc. to provide automated curbside collection of trash and recycle. The automated collection program will utilize carts owned, distributed and maintained by Casella to each household in Town. Each household will automatically receive one (1), 65 gallon trash cart and one (1), 65 gallon recycle cart. However, based on resident feedback, Casella and the Town will allow residents to select an alternative cart size if they meet any of the following criteria.

The criteria (paraphrased) are: Large families could request 95-gallon containers. The elderly and those with long driveways could request smaller 35-gallon trash containers. For recycling, 65-gallon containers are mandatory.

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I am 85 years old widower and have neuropathy in my feet related to cancer chemo. My driveway is about 100 feet long and has a steep (at least for me) section at the entry to the garage.

I support the new system, I support recycling, but I oppose nonsense. I am unable to transport a loaded 65-gallon container down my driveway. Nonsense Alert: If 65-gallon trash containers are too much for seniors to handle, why is it that 65-gallon recycle containers are OK?

Ironically, I was looking forward to the new system so that I could recycle properly. In the old system, the Town issued 2.5-gallon open recycle containers which were impractical for loose papers and other such recyclables. I would recycle cardboard and empty gallon water bottles every other week. Now I’d be able to include boxboard, loose papers, plastic bottles and jugs, and soft drink bottles; maybe as much as five gallons of recycling weekly.

I hate to be seen as beating up on the Town. My wife and I spent 20 of the happiest years of our lives here. I love the people.

Selectman Joe Pace and I have discussed solutions at some length, but he tells me that the Town’s hands are contractually tied to a commitment to the 65-gallon recycling container. As I understand it, the containers were provided to the Town through Casella by a non-governmental organization (NGO).

While I have no further insight into the NGO, I get the impression that it is the NGO that contractually insists on the large recycle containers, perhaps because of a (Nonsense Alert ) belief that they will encourage recycling. It appears that the root cause of my problem is not the Town, but rather Casella and/or the NGO.

I am told that this is not a big deal and to go find my own solution. The 65-gallon recycle container is non-negotiable. I cannot physically handle the 65-gallon container. Ergo, I cannot recycle.

“I don’t like this solution [not recycling], I am in favor of recycling, but I see no other viable option presently.  I will seek assistance via the Americans With Disabilities Act and other similar resources.  Several neighbors from the Town, who I thank profusely, have offered to help.  The best way to help is to attend and participate at the Selectmen meetings, pencil in 27 September at 6:30 PM at the Town Hall.”


PS: The first time I used the 35-gallon trash container, the wheels fell off. They had not been properly secured. I put them back on but could not secure them.

Casalla collection-image 2


Mike Johnson is a small-government conservative, a live-free-or-die resident of NH, and the author of the e-book John Kerry & PCF-44. E-mail