PORTLAND — The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a trash pickup program for large items, but it won’t be like Portland’s old program.

The new program will be free for items that weigh less than 30 pounds, but pickup for anything heavier will cost $40.

The free bulky-waste program was eliminated in 2008 because of budget cuts.

Mayor Michael Brennan, who promised as a candidate to bring back free bulky-waste pickup, said the new program “is a very measured approach and a step in the right direction.”

He said he hopes the city will reduce the fee in the future.

A Portland contractor, Clarke Painting, will run the program. City officials hope to start it May 21.

The program is designed to bring back bulky-waste disposal, but with user fees so there will be no cost for taxpayers, said Mike Bobinsky, director of the Department of Public Services.

A resident who wants to get rid of any item that won’t fit into a trash bag, such as a chair or a couch, will go online to buy a tag from the city, then use the same website to schedule the pickup.

The resident will stick the tag on the item and take it to the curb before the day when the city picks up trash in that neighborhood.

The contractor will then pick up the item.

Tags will be required for smaller items, like chairs, but city crews will pick them up on their regular routes.

Those tags will be free, but people will be allowed to use only 10 a year.

People without Internet access or credit cards can get the tags at the Department of Public Services, at 55 Portland St. City officials hope to start selling the tags on May 14.

While the old program was held only in the spring, the new one will operate during spring, summer and fall.

While the bulky-waste program was popular with residents, it had drawbacks, several city councilors said Monday.

That program encouraged the spread of bedbugs, particularly in urban neighborhoods, and put a lot of trash on city sidewalks, councilors said.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: @TomBellPortland