Pandemic Underscores Ironbound District’s Waste Management Challenges

Ironbound Business Improvement District
Ironbound Business Improvement District

Keeping the Ironbound District’s streetscape clean, safe, and welcoming has always been a challenge for the Ironbound Business Improvement District (IBID). With hundreds of businesses and restaurants sharing the neighborhood with thousands of residents and visitors, this vibrant community generates a considerable amount of solid waste each and every day.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, with many residents confined to their homes, a considerable amount of additional household garbage has been generated. Many residents and business owners have been incorrectly taking their trash and depositing it into and around garbage receptacles on Ferry Street, Wilson Avenue, and other major district roadways.

And, while the supplemental clean-up services paid for and managed by the IBID over the past 20 years have proven to be an effective and necessary part of the public-private partnership between the City of Newark and the district’s business community, the pandemic has spotlighted the growing trash problem that is impacting local quality of life.

“More than ever before, mixed-use commercial corridors like Ferry Street require sanitation services that go far beyond the supplemental assignment of changing out municipal waste receptacles, which has been the standard charge for Special Improvement Districts for nearly 40 years in New Jersey,” notes Chris Bernardo, President & CEO, Commercial District Services LLC, a leader in place management in the state that provides clean and green streetscape services to the IBID. “To meet this challenge, we deploy extra resources almost every day to address illegal dumping, bulk garbage, and prohibited trash handling practices.”

Manny Lopes, IBID President and owner of Lopes and Sons Hardware on Ferry Street, has witnessed firsthand the challenges and problems associated with being a successful business and residential hub. Lopes points out that the IBID has sponsored an Anti-Litter Poster Contest for nearly 20 years in the Ironbound’s public and private schools to engage students and help inform their families. “We print and circulate thousands of postcards featuring the winning entries each year along with information about garbage, bulk and recycling schedules including when to put out trash and other rules and guidelines,” Lopes adds.

“The IBID has worked effectively with our partners from the City of Newark for 20 years to deliver the high level of service our community demands,” concludes Executive Director Seth A. Grossman. “But state laws and regulations regarding residential waste collection and disposal prohibit our Clean and Green Team from doing so as a supplemental service provider. We need the help of every Ironbound stakeholder, from business and property owners to residents and visitors to work together to keep our community clean, safe and welcoming for all.”

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