Trash day is aptly named. It is the day of the week that citizens of Hamilton and Wenham expect to see trash on their streets.
Trash day is the day that clutter and debris is eliminated, or so the idea goes. But, at times, life proves more complicated than this. When changes in town trash rules and uppity weather enter the picture, trash day becomes less a day to cleanse and simplify than a day to wrestle with outside forces.
Anyone who has ever lived with roommates knows that there is a filth tolerance gene. In a group of two or more, there is always at least one person who would rather buy paper plates than suds up a sponge, one who doesn’t think to vacuum until they lose their keys in the dust beneath their beds. These people may not notice Bud Lite cans, Twixt candy wrappers and spent lottery tickets strewn amongst leaves alongside roads.
But Lis Cloutman of Hamilton does.
“I’m very concerned that people are so oblivious to trash,” said Cloutman this week.
Cloutman, who lives near Route 22, is more aware of trash than she’d like. Often walking her dog Ella or out with her horses Woody and Stars, Cloutman gets a closer look at the landscape than drivers in their cars.
“It looks horrible, trash all in the bushes," said Cloutman. "I pick up a lot of stuff.”
The question - or at least one - is where does the trash come from? Who is responsible?
Belinda Recio, one of Cloutman’s neighbors, has a partial answer.
“On trash day, especially on windy days a lot of trash gets blown around,” Recio explained. “I know that some of our neighbors are older or dealing with illness, coping with the trash is too much for them.”
A hands-on woman, Recio made a call to Hamilton’s . Perhaps, she thought, the town has a strategy or action plan for litter removal.
The person on the receiving end of Recio’s phone call was administrative assistant to the Director of Public Works, Allison Jenkins.
“Littering is illegal and is enforced by the police,” Jenkins told Recio. However relevant, this information did not provide the sort of help Recio was hoping for.
Undeterred however, she pressed ahead and was told by Jenkins that if she liked she could purchase trash bags to contain the litter. In other words, should Recio choose to take it upon herself to rid a tract of Hamilton of litter, the town would sell her the necessary trash bags. The message came without a pat on the back.
After a moment’s thought, Recio seized the right to throw out someone else’s trash and bought the bags. Not stopping there, she went back home and rallied forces to make sure one stretch of Route 22 was clean.
It is hard to say whether trash removed is less noticeable than trash left behind - but make a note that what you don’t see is what you get from the work of Recio and friends.