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‘Bulky items’ seen on curbs in Columbia gives reminder for large trash pickup process


A number of students in the East Campus area of Columbia saw their leases end before a new school year starts. Curbsides were filled Monday with couches and other furniture.

The City of Columbia considers the accumulation of trash or garbage a public nuisance. However, the city no longer picks up bulky items without a scheduled pickup, which can only be scheduled once a year.

Residents gets one item to be picked up for free and each additional large item costs $5.

"So, if you put out a table and chairs, one of those items will be free and each additional item will be $5," City of Columbia Utility spokesman Matt Nestor said.

The second time you call, the first item will be $21.50 with the additional item charge remaining at $5.

A "bulky item" is described by the city's ordinance as "any single item which cannot be contained in a refuse bag, can be easily collected by two people, as described by the director and weighs less than 50 pounds."

According to Article Five of the ordinance, the pickup of bulky items requires to be scheduled at least one week in advance of the collection. It is unlawful for residents to keep bulky items for longer than 48 hours in any location outside of a residence as long as it is visible.

The request must identify the number and type of items requested to be collected. The ordinance also states that the items can be placed in a visible and easily accessible location no earlier than 24 hours before the scheduled collection date. The bulky items may not exceed more than 15 feet from the back of the curb, edge of the roadway or immediately next to an alley.

"The issue is over the years it became expected that people could just leave couches, tables, whatnot on the curb and expect our drivers to pick them up and it was, you know, a health hazard," Nestor said. "It just wasn't fair to our drivers, so in 2020 as we were making changes to the collection process, it was decided that the bulky items would need to be scheduled in advance and that there would be a fee for multiple items."

Items not considered bulky items by the city include materials from the destruction or remodeling of a building, fallen trees, large automobile parts and hazardous materials.

Nestor recommends that those who don't schedule for pickup either donate their belongings if they are in good condition to prevent them from going to the landfill. Otherwise, they can drive their belongings to the landfill themselves for a minimum charge of $25.

Residents can schedule their bulky items tp be pick up through the City of Columbia's website or its smartphone application.

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Grace Pankey


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