Overflowing Garbage Bins All Over

‘Who’s asleep at the wheel?’ asks a frustrated Amagansett shop owner
A recent weekend’s overflowing garbage cans on Main Street, Amagansett
A recent weekend’s overflowing garbage cans on Main Street, Amagansett Durell Godfrey

    At a town board meeting on Tuesday, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, the board’s liaison from the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee, reported that members of the committee had expressed concern at their last meeting about garbage cans on the hamlet’s Main Street being filled far beyond their capacity, even before the end of a weekend.
    “It was a result of our not implementing the seasonal pickup schedule,” said Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, the board’s liaison to the East Hampton Town Building and Grounds Department. The pickup schedule was not aligned with the earlier-than-usual arrival of visitors, he said, citing the mild winter as well as the Montauk Music Festival, which brought thousands into the area, and the big Mother’s Day weekend.
    Amagansett business owners who were interviewed this week are also upset about overflowing garbage cans and, to hear them talk, have been for a good while. “For a beautiful town, it should be very easy to take care of this,” said Michael Cinque, who has owned Amagansett Wines and Spirits for 32 years. “It’s downright ugly — and horrible that they can’t control it. Who’s asleep at the wheel?”
    Not only Main Street, but the parking lot behind it, is a problem, Mr. Cinque said. “It’s full of broken glass and beer bottles every weekend. Who’s responsible for cleaning that up?” He suggested that business owners meet with Tony Littman, who heads the Building and Grounds Department, to discuss changes in the garbage-pickup system.
    Another Amagansett merchant, Susan Seitz-Kulick, who has owned Gone Local for six years, said the bins at either end of Main Street were not used as much as the ones in front of the places that sell food, including Indian Wells Tavern, D’Canela, Felice’s, Sopra Sotto, Mary’s Marvelous, and the two in Amagansett Square, Hampton Chutney and Meeting House. She suggested the town might put more bins where they are most needed, or move the ones that are underused nearer to the ones that brim over with bottles, cans, and plastic cups. She has seen dogs eating discarded bits of food near full bins, she said.
    “It is very frustrating and embarrassing, and it doesn’t speak well of our town,” said Sandra Schoenlien of Mary’s Marvelous. There is no can in front of her popular bakery and gourmet takeout shop.
    “We need to make adjustments,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc. He said he has suggested adding more cans or shortening the distance between the cans.
    Mr. Littman said his crews empty 250 garbage receptacles all over East Hampton Town, including at bayside road ends. The summer schedule, which is now in force, has two trucks going out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. On Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there is a truck out between 4 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
    On Saturday and Sunday, an additional two trucks are out between 5 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The night shift handles the beaches and the Main Streets — “the big stuff,” said Mr. Littman. That shift hits the receptacles twice, he said, once on the way out and again on the way back. Mr. Littman said the work schedule and routes are about the same as in years past.
    “People should understand how much ground Tony Littman’s crews cover,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said. “They don’t know, and they take it for granted.” Mr. Littman recently told Mr. Van Scoyoc that his crews picked up 1 million pounds of garbage last year.
    Mr. Van Scoyoc is not only the town board liaison to Mr. Littman’s department but also the Wainscott advisory committee’s  liaison, so “all these issues get routed” to him, he said. The Wainscott committee has complained about garbage at beaches, as have Amagansett citizens committee members, who are concerned about overflowing bins at the Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue road ends.
    “It’s a perennial problem,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc, “because some people decide they want to get rid of their household garbage in them on a Sunday. We will be working on stepping up enforcement of that.”
With reporting by Joanne Pilgrim