PORTLAND – Portlanders looking to off-load that cat-clawed sofa or trash some wobbly wicker chairs have a new option starting today: bulky pickup.

The city’s new program provides special tags — some free, some costing $40 — that residents attach to large items.

The program replaces the popular heavy-item pickup program that was eliminated in 2008.

Here’s how it works: Residents fill out an online form at www.recycle.portlandmaine.gov, and the city mails out the tags within a few days. Residents put the tagged items on the curb on a specified date for pickup.

Tags are free for items weighing less than 30 pounds, such as cribs or lawn furniture, but households are limited to 10 tags per year. For larger items, such as couches or mattresses, there is a set fee of $40 per item.

The previous bulky-waste pickup program, which was free, was eliminated by budget cuts in 2008. Before that, during a five- or six-week period every spring, residents across Portland dragged couches, mattresses and other large, unwanted items out to the curb for free pickup by city crews.

While the bulky-waste program was popular with residents, city officials said it resulted in a lot of loose trash on sidewalks and encouraged the spread of bedbugs.

The new program will operate April through November annually. Electronic waste like televisions and computer monitors are not eligible.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

tbell@pressherald.com