It's the new year, time to ring in the new, throw out the old.
But when you get ready to throw out the remnants of 1992, be sure you're doing it on the right day.
Beginning today, city trash collectors will follow a new schedule, that will reduce residential trash pickups to once a week. For many city residents, that pickup will occur on a day on which they had not previously had a trash collection.
Maps for the new schedule have been published in the Journal-World to help smooth the transition, but changes in trash collection are bound to prompt some complaints.
A number of residents already have expressed displeasure at the reduction of regular trash pickups to one a week. The move was taken to allow sanitation workers to add weekly pickups for yard waste such as grass clippings. Those collections will begin March 1. In the meantime, sanitation workers will use their extra time to work on alley cleanup and other city beautification projects.
The city hopes to save about $200,000 in landfill tipping fees by reducing the amount of yard waste taken to the landfill. Instead of going to the landfill, the yard waste will be composted by the city and used by the parks and recreation department.
Recycling is another desirable goal of the new trash collection system, but there is much more the city could consider doing to encourage residents to recycle materials other than yard waste. Many cities provide or are considering programs to provide curbside pickup of other recyclable materials such as aluminum, glass, newspapers and plastics. Such a program may not be economically feasible in Lawrence now, but the city might look at curbside recycling again soon to see if it can make recycling more convenient for city residents.
In the meantime, pay attention to trash day. If you see trash cans out at the neighbor's house, this may be your new trash collection day, and if you miss it, that trash will be sitting around for a whole week. Once-a-week pickups will be something to get used to or not. If the change proves unpopular enough, city officials may have to reconsider the new trash schedule.