Despite punishment, man keeps sorting trash in yard

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One man’s trash has become the city’s headache as a Grand Rapids man continues to use his backyard as a junk yard.

Bill Peterson converted his backyard on Cherry Street to run a trash hauling and recycling operation.

He advertises his business as “Trailer Trash,” hauling other people’s castoffs to his property. He said once the junk is in his yard, he “sorts through it and find things that can either be reused, repurposed or recycled.”

He has been at it for decades and the city’s been on to him for most that time.

According to Peterson, he’s received several zoning violations from the city asking him to stop conducting business and clean up his yard. Peterson told News 8 he’s not giving in, even after violations landed him in jail twice.

“Instead of trying to educate the rest of the world about how bad all this waste is, I’m trying to do something about it,” he said.

Neighbors don’t seem to mind the mess next door, a few telling News 8 they support Peterson’s mission.

“All kinds of people will tell you I’m nice and that I’m doing a good job,” Peterson said.

News 8 reached out to the City of Grand Rapids for comment and received the following statement Wednesday:

“We have been listening to all opinions and concerns regarding this case and are looking at all options before moving forward,” city spokesman Steve Guitar said. “We are not able to provide additional comment at this time.” 

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