Archive for Wednesday, February 3, 2010

City tosses around ideas about trash

February 3, 2010


City considers changes to rules governing boarding houses

City commissioners are considering making changes to the city's policy on boarding houses. Enlarge video

The scent of change for Lawrence’s trash system is beginning to fill the air at Lawrence City Hall.

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting directed a city-appointed advisory board to begin studying ways to get feedback from the public on new types of trash rates that would charge residents based on how much trash they throw away.

Commissioners also directed the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board and staff members to work on a plan to create a new marketing plan that would make Lawrence residents more aware of private companies that offer curbside recycling services in the city.

“If we’re going to talk about the importance of recycling, we really need to discuss waste reduction first,” said Commissioner Mike Dever. “The only real way to get at waste reduction is to charge people for what they throw away.”

The details of such a system weren’t discussed Tuesday, but other communities have done everything from requiring residents to use special containers to limiting the number of trash cans or bags that can be set out each week.

Mayor Rob Chestnut said he thinks the time is coming for Lawrence residents to start weighing in about the idea.

“I know we’ll have contrasting opinions in the community about doing a system like that,” Chestnut said. “It would be a pretty significant move.”

Members of the Sustainability Advisory Board in the coming months will work on ways to gather feedback from residents about various pay-as-you-throw options.

The board will be doing that at the same time several other trash issues are studied. In addition to the rate question, commissioners directed the board and staff members to:

• Create an implementation plan for a marketing program that would get the word out that several private companies currently offer curbside recycling services in Lawrence. Commissioners on Tuesday said they were interested in the program — depending on its costs — but also said they wanted to study whether private curbside recyclers should be required to apply for some sort of license to operate in the city.

• Gather more data on how much an incentive program in the city’s solid waste division is costing the city. The program allows trash crews to work less than an eight-hour day but still receive pay for eight hours, if they complete their routes early and to the satisfaction of supervisors.

• Evaluate how the solid waste division pays for overtime. The division currently pays many employees OT for each day they work more than eight hours, regardless of whether they work more than 40 hours in a week.

In other city business, commissioners:

• Deferred action on a new set of regulations related to boarding houses in the Oread Neighborhood and other areas of town. After more than an hour’s worth of comment, commissioners sent the item back to the Planning Commission for more discussion.


Randall Barnes 8 years ago


cowboy 8 years ago

Bend Over Lawrence cuz the city is going to give you a rate increase. With an incomplete audit , no discriminative look at which operations are losing money , and no explanation why the long time manager of this dept left , the city has decided to raise rates.

This is typical of this city to move to solutions before adequately defining the problem. The losses in solid waste are not just labor hours. That can only amount to about 30% of the annual million plus in overspending. It is obvious that city management has no stomach to take critical looks at city operations and make operational changes.

If you are unable or unwilling to do the job you should find other work. I predicted this would happen and it has.

bshaurette 8 years ago

“The only real way to get at waste reduction is to charge people for what they throw away.”

No, the way to do it is to offer curbside recycling as an option. In cities where curbside recycling is offered municipally, a third to a half of all waste ends up being recycled.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years ago


By my count, there are at least five curb-side recycling services available to Lawrence residents. Are you suggesting that the government not only compete with private businesses but that it also meddle in yet another aspect of our lives?

cowboy 8 years ago

Well crap , losing well over a million dollars a year is not a big deal. Lets just raise some rates here and there and sweep this dog under the rug quickly.

nobody1793 8 years ago

“The only real way to get at waste reduction is to charge people for what they throw away.”

It's free to throw stuff an empty lot, in business dumpsters, on the side of the highway, etc. The idea behind public trash collection is to encourage people to dispose of things properly.

Right now, it's taken for granted as a flat fee lumped into thier other charges. Once people start being concious of per-bag fees or whatever, there will be a backlash, and people will find alternative means of disposal. It has happened elsewhere.

I only have 1 half-full garbage bag a week, and I still think it's a bad idea.

nuby 8 years ago

Lawrence should study the Denton, TX recycling program. It is so easy to do. Virtually no seperating and almost everything can be recycled. People there have more recycling than trash. Get with the program Lawrence.

1029 8 years ago

Too bad dogs and cats can't eat trash without becoming sick or dying. Think about all the problems that would be solved if the family pet just ate all the family's garbage. You wouldn't have to buy expensive pet food, have smelly garbage in your house, take your smelly garbage to the curb, and the environment would obviously benefit. Plus, the city wouldn't have to pay garbage men and the money could go toward something else.

zzgoeb 8 years ago

Curb-side companies can still operate as long as the economy allows, ie, folks can pay to recycle. The city can balance it's solid wastes stream by offering to take recyclables from folks based on what they DON'T throw away. I put out one bag of trash a week and two or three bins of recyclables. I should not pay the city as much as many of my neighbors that put out 3-5 bags, with no recyclables.

nytemayr 8 years ago

I think the city needs to back away from the curbside collection business and only pick up sorted trash at designated collection stations. Charge a per use fee at the station. Let private curbside collection businesses do the sorting and charge for it. The city is better at the health and safety regulation, inspection and enforcement business.

tolawdjk 8 years ago

Actually, oneeye, I saw a Dirty Jobs episode about just such a thing. They were more of a bulk recycler but did the gambit of beds/furniture/electronics and it was pretty much as you described it...break it down into components of fabric/wood/steel and deal with it like that.

bendover61 8 years ago

How does recycling reduce the cost of trash collection. The cost goes up.

cowboy 8 years ago

You have been baited and switched folks !

Problem: Solid Waste losing 1.2 million per year due to poor operations

Bait : Recycling discussion that has no bearing on the $ losses

Switch : forget about the losses , lets talk recycling and just raise the trash rates

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

There are and have been a lot of empty new homes that do not pay property taxes and do not pay for trash. Yet the trash trucks need to go to these streets even if only one or two houses need the service. More miles = more dollars.

Why overload the housing market and city expenses at the expense of existing taxpayers?

Waste Reduction and Recycling Opportunites:

Commenting has been disabled for this item.