Fuming over ‘gigantic’ 96-gallon trash cans in Palm Beach County? So are your neighbors

Article Courtesy of  The Sun Sentinel

By Brooke Baitinger

Published September 18, 2019

There’s a new kind of trash can littering some of Boca Raton’s gated and homeowners association communities, blocking carports and driveways and snagging people’s daily routines.


The “gigantic,” 96-gallon gray trash bins don’t fit in garages. They’re too heavy to move. And some homeowners associations don’t allow them to be kept outside, according to residents.

“We had these huge trash cans that are suitable for the back of a restaurant delivered to our homes,” said Paulette Snyder, 75, who lives in the Villa San Remo community off Lyons Road.

Snyder said her subdivision should have received smaller 65-gallon bins but instead got the 96-gallon ones. She and her neighbors struggled to find room for the carts on their property, she said.

Snyder said her community’s association told her she can’t keep the new bin outside, but it won’t fit inside her garage. And she can’t move the bin either way, hindered by a past abdominal surgery that prevents her from lugging around the bulky bin.

“This is community chaos,” she said. “The way this was done was totally off the wall and nonsensical.”

Palm Beach County’s Solid Waste Authority started issuing the bins recently for a new program starting Oct. 1. The new program will “automate” the system, meaning only one driver is needed to operate most of the dump trucks that lift the bins up and dump the contents into the back of the truck.

Residents of the Boca Pointe community were supposed to receive 65-gallon carts for a new collection program starting Oct. 1, but mistakenly received the 96-gallon carts.

That saves taxpayer money, according to waste authority spokesman Willie Puz.

“Automated collection service has been a trend nationwide,” Puz said. “These carts aren’t any different than what’s being used throughout the nation. The discrepancy is what’s best for the individual. That’s the debate.”

The waste authority offers 48-gallon, 65-gallon and 96-gallon cans with the new program, with the 96-gallon cans set as the standard to provide the largest carts for the most amount of people. The waste authority then worked with gated and HOA communities to determine the best cart size for each community.

But some of the bins were apparently distributed to the wrong neighborhoods, including in the Boca Pointe and Villa San Remo communities. The wide trash cans, designed to accommodate larger families living in unincorporated areas, don’t fit in the smaller gated communities.

That’s causing problems in HOA-dominated Boca. For those who live alone or with one other person in a condo or apartment, the bins are way too big.

The authority has promised to replace the 96-gallon bins that were delivered to the wrong communities before the Oct. 1 deadline. In Snyder’s case, the bins have already been replaced with smaller 65-gallon containers.

In January, after a 90-day waiting period that will get residents through the high trash volume holidays, those who want smaller trash bins can apply for one.

Those who can’t get their garbage and recycling to the curb for medical reasons can apply for back-door service, in which the driver picks trash up from the doorstep.

Of Palm Beach County’s 641,726 parcels, the Solid Waste Authority services about 279,355 unincorporated properties, or about 43%. The authority services all parcels for disposal and processing of residential garbage, recyclables, yard waste and bulk waste.

The 96-gallon bins were chosen to give the largest size to the most amount of people. The waste authority then worked with specific communities, such as HOA-run neighborhoods.

“We understand there is no cart that everybody is going to be happy with,” Puz said. “It is the process best for the county residents as a whole to get them the same standardized level of service for the best cost.