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Seaside Heights Passes Trash Can Law, Considers ‘Robo-Cans’

Trash bags in Seaside Heights, N.J. (Photo: Seaside Heights Public Works)

Trash bags in Seaside Heights, N.J. (Photo: Seaside Heights Public Works)

After some debate between residents and officials, the Seaside Heights borough council has decided to move forward with a new law requiring residents to place their trash in receptacles.

Borough officials have cited repeated instances of seagulls ripping apart garbage bags – even heavy duty contractor-style bags – with their beaks and spreading trash across sidewalks and roadways. The ordinance drew some pushback from a few seasonal residents who said they do not want to be forced to place trash cans out on the street when they will not be returning until the next weekend, but borough council members said the cleanliness of the town is paramount as Seaside Heights transitions back to a family-style resort.

“I’m constantly buying garbage cans,” said one resident, who told council members that his empty cans have gone missing by the time he returns to his summer home.

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Councilman Louis DiGuilio, who previously served as the borough’s public works superintendent, said residents could use a cord to secure their cans to a pole or other structure if they wish, and sanitation workers would simply lift a tied bag out if necessary.

The new ordinance will come with strict enforcement, however warnings will be going out to first-time violators, Mayor Anthony Vaz said.

“There will be a time period and notification will be sent out to each property owner in town,” said Vaz, adding that rental property owners will be responsible for requiring their tenants to comply.

Vaz said the borough is looking for ways to make the borough as clean as possible, and “robo-cans” are under consideration.

Christopher Vaz, the borough administrator, said the public works department has received pricing on “arms” that can retrofitted to existing garbage trucks which would enable them to automate collection, as is done in neighboring towns such as Toms River and Brick.

The challenge, Christopher Vaz said, is finding room in the borough’s budget to purchase the equipment as well as cans.

“We are looking at that, but it may be a year away,” he said.

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