A seemingly ceaseless stream of solitary drivers pulled into the Sandwich Transfer Station’s big green hangar on Thursday afternoon, March 26 to toss a week’s worth of trash and then unload their recyclables into the nearby bins.
“I do see this as an opportunity to get out of the house—and out of the car,” quipped longtime resident Joan Lapp after unloading a bag of recyclables. “I’m now on my way to the canal for a walk.”
While all town buildings have now closed to deter coronavirus infections, the transfer station has remained open. The hours and some of the services have been cut back, but residents seem to be taking it in stride.
“I’m happy they’re open, but disappointed they’re not taking yard waste,” said John Casali, a teacher who has lived in town for 26 years. “I now have the time to work around the house.”
Transfer station manager Gary Gray said Mr. Casali is among many who have complained this week that the transfer station is not taking compost and other yard waste, or bulk trash of any kind right now.
“We’re trying to get people in and out quickly for their safety and the safety of our crews,” Mr. Gray said. “People now have time on their hands and they want to start cleaning their yards and get rid of stuff, but we’re trying to flatten the [coronavirus] curve.”
To do that, the town is asking residents to limit their trips to one a week and to avoid peak hours at the transfer station. Peak hours are weekdays from 11 AM to 2 PM and weekends from 11 AM to 1 PM and 3 to 4 PM.
Mr. Gray said the transfer station has also halted completely the processing of construction and demolition materials.
Those “C&D” materials include waste resulting from building construction, remodeling, repair and demolition. It also includes road paving material, asphalt, masonry, concrete, bricks, metal, rebar, sheet rock, plaster and lumber, according to the transfer station website.
“We have people bringing C&D materials four and five times a week,” Mr. Gray said. “We had to slow that way down.”
The crews who pick up garbage from various town sites are always aware of germs and always wear gloves, and always clean their vehicles after every use, Mr. Gray said.
“This is not a new game to us,” Mr. Gray said. “It’s just a more dangerous game right now.”