Archive for Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Automation, recycling still on Solid Waste Task Force’s working list while trash options being sorted

Members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force follow a trash truck on Villo Woods Court, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour of Lawrence's trash and recycling processes to learn more about solid waste operations.

Members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force follow a trash truck on Villo Woods Court, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour of Lawrence's trash and recycling processes to learn more about solid waste operations.

December 13, 2011


Bit by bit, a city-appointed task force is getting closer to making recommendations that will change much about trash in Lawrence, from how residents must set it out at the curb to the number of city employees needed to collect it.

“I think we’re producing something that is very promising for the future,” Mayor Aron Cromwell said after Monday’s meeting of the Solid Waste Task Force. “The changes that we’re talking about will be what will help us keep costs down for the future.”

The task force clarified several positions on Monday, although it still did not vote on any formal recommendations. The group hopes to do that by mid-January, after which the report will be turned over to the City Commission for final action.

But here’s a look at how some of the key recommendations are shaping up:

• Cromwell, who is chairman of the task force, suggested any new trash service should cost no more than $19 per month. Currently, residential trash service costs about $15 per month, but the new service would include weekly curbside recycling.

• Residents would be provided by the city with two carts that they would be expected to use. One cart would be for trash and the other would be for recycling.

• Task force members envision that residents would be able to choose from two cart sizes — perhaps a 90-gallon cart or a 65-gallon cart. If people choose the smaller cart, they would receive a slight reduction of the standard trash rate.

“We are trying to incentivize people to throw away less trash,” Cromwell said.

• The task force reviewed policies from other communities that require residents to pay a price for extra bags of trash that cannot fit into the carts. But Cromwell and others balked at that system. Instead, Cromwell suggested that the city come up with a policy that allows residents to occasionally have extra bags of trash that do fit into the trash cart. The city would reserve the right to charge residents

for excessive amounts of trash or to require customers to upgrade to a larger cart.

• Task force members were told by city staffers that the carts are critical for a future service because they will increase the ability of the city to use more automated trucks. More automation is expected to decrease workplace injuries and reduce worker compensation claims to the point that the carts will pay for themselves, Cromwell said.

But Cromwell confirmed after the meeting that carts also are expected to eventually reduce the number of city employees needed to collect the trash. Several communities that use the carts operate trucks that require only a driver. The city’s current system requires a driver and generally two loaders. But City Manager David Corliss said he did not expect increased automation would necessitate the need for layoffs.

“We would find a way to do it through attrition,” Corliss said.

The task force is expected to meet again on Jan. 5 and may vote to approve a set of recommendations at its Jan. 19 meeting.


parrothead8 3 years, 11 months ago

I only have enough room in my 1-car garage for one cart. We don't have a secure outdoor location for a cart, so will the city extend my garage in order to fit the second cart inside?

Mark Zwahl 3 years, 11 months ago

Seriously dude. Don't have $4? None of the waste going into your trash can came from something you really couldn't live without? Recycling isn't about a "few people's desires". It's about getting smarter about how we treat the planet and her resources. Frankly, even recycling is too little to late, but...

parrothead8 3 years, 11 months ago

That's true. It's not the $4 I mind, but the fact that they're talking about replacing a private service I'm already happy using with a mandatory service whose cost will automatically be added to my bill. That, and the fact that I'll have two, big, unwieldy carts I really don't have room for, and that my existing trash can will now be taking up space despite the fact that I'll have no use for it.

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

I will give you a few bucks for old can if it is in decent shape.

Toby Workman 3 years, 11 months ago

Why should I pay for a service I get for free at my local Walmart Recycling Center. Walmart is just one of a dozen different places around town for recycling. No thanks, I have a recycling plan.

conservative 3 years, 11 months ago

The City needs to stay out of the recycling business. There are already companies that provide this service. There are also free options for people that do not want to pay extra to recycle. If the goal is to increase recycling then stick to allowing 1 cart of trash per week and charge for extra bags. Make the fee for the extra bags enough and people will recycle.

matahari 3 years, 11 months ago

Agreed! A possible link to said "dilemma" at 11th and Haskell. Garbage wars, yahoo! Delemma defined...A dilemma (Greek: δί-λημμα "double proposition") is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable.

cowboy 3 years, 11 months ago

first , no extra charges

Second , i would like to see test engineering on the efficiency of an automated truck used in a neighborhood. Seems to me the time involved in picking each can versus a team handling multiple cans and bags at once is suspect.

I lived in arizona and they used the picker but each dumpster was in an alley and used by 4-6 homes. Picking each residence will make the route much slower to accomplish requiring more trucks.

Whatever the final recommendations , there should be a pilot program before any mass transition.

cowboy 3 years, 11 months ago

in the time it took a crew could dump both sides of the street , plus how many streets in lawrence are nice and wide open like the one in the video. how does it work on the end of the older small culdesacs .

Id be concerned that this would work in the cluttered environ that is lawrence.

40cal 3 years, 11 months ago

its alot faster with automated trucks...on average 1 truck can do 900 to 1200 stops a day with 1 man and dependent also on the brand of automation you use. i have driven both types and automation is the way to go.

Lee Saylor 3 years, 11 months ago

How do you deal with cul-de-sacs full of parked cars?

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the video link. The truck operates smoother and more quickly than I had envisioned. A couple of questions do arise:

  1. That truck looks pretty big. It would seem to me that it would be very difficult and time consuming for the truck to weave in and out of parked cars. Not a problem in the newer, upscale developments where every home has at least a two car garage and very few cars are parked on the streets. But in some of the more established neighborhoods, and especially in East Lawrence and near campus, there are frequently many cars parallel parked. And alley pickup might not be the answer, as they are either too narrow for the truck or non-existent. What is the solution.

  2. How much margin of error is there in the positioning of the bins by the consumer. Would require educating the public, e.g., if more than one bin leaving enough space between them so the arms of the mechanism can properly maneuver.

The idea of a pilot program suggested by cowboy makes all the sense in the world. The companies that sell these costly machines tout the upsides, but not the downsides, which can only be gleaned through experience.

deec 3 years, 11 months ago

When they started this in Hays, the city decimated the trees along the alleys so there would be room for the arm to operate. Some people received citations because their fences were too close to the alley for the truck arm to work. Those big carts are very difficult for some elderly and disabled people to negotiate back and forth to the curb. They are very difficult to move through even moderately deep snow without being lifted and carried. They blow over in strong winds when not full. If you leave the carts near the alley, expect neighbors' overflow. For people who don't have garages, who will be responsible for the cost of replacing stolen or damaged carts?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 11 months ago

Take more tax dollars out of the economy by demanding you purchase your trash service from a governmental entity, while the private sector, which actually puts money into the system, competes against a tax supported agency. We wonder why our taxes are so high. The city should get out of the trash, recycleing, transportation, housing, medical, and many other things that the private sector should be doing. Getting out of these things mean more tax dollars going into the system, and hopefully property tax relief somewhere down the line.

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

Problem with your argument is that the private company needs to make a profit. If private and public entities are managed equally well, the public entity is always cheaper because there is no markup for profit. Also, without the profit motive there is no incentive to cut corners on the quality of service to increase profits. You're right, you can't have it both ways.

shadowlady 3 years, 11 months ago

Now let me understand this. The city charges us for taking our recyclables, then they take the recyclables and make money off of that. So they get paid twice for the same thing??

irvan moore 3 years, 11 months ago

i think it stinks that cromwell is the head of the task force that will decide what he votes on, maybe a little conflict of interest there?

Eric Neuteboom 3 years, 11 months ago

But don't forget, they never mention that any curbside recycling collection will NOT take glass! How can you envision a mandatory service that doesn't take the one of the easiest materials to recycle?!?!?!??!

Can these task force geniuses figure out where all that glass is going to go now? Yep, in those big damn carts they're gonna make us use.

Eric Neuteboom 3 years, 11 months ago

It's true. Unbelievable, but true. I actually e-mailed my concerns to mayor cromwell, and he confirmed it.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

One more time. If we are to mandate recycling through the city than it should be mandatory and enforced on all of us to include large rental properties.

How about transitioning over time. Mandate recycling but allow the citizen to continue to use private contractors in lieu of paying for new city services and carts. Phase that out over several years so that the private contractors are allowed to transition out of business smoothly.

Seems like we are in a big hurry to fix something that does not appear broke. I sure would like to hear expressed the goals we expect to achieve from mandating recycling over the level of recycling we already attain.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 11 months ago

Trash is trash. If we don't recycle a bottle, it will be picked up as ordinary trash. Picking up recycling saves me gas, time, and containers. It really doesn't matter to me which can I toss it in. Recycling trash is a reality even in wide open spaces like Kansas.

40cal 3 years, 11 months ago

alot of injuries related to curbside glass recycling

mtburton88 3 years, 11 months ago

Glass is considered a hazard can cause harm , It's to bulky needs to be broken down, needs to be sorted, and it's to heavy, the cost to ship or transport to a company that recycles glass is expensive. There are lots of issues with glass.

Trust and believe that the city isn't going to take glass...

40cal 3 years, 11 months ago

just because glass is the only product not picked up curbside doesn't make recycling worthless...

40cal 3 years, 11 months ago

just wait lawrence, your city is watching what happens here in johnson county now that they are forcing us to pay for recycling and putting limits to the amount of trash we set out each week.

brink75 3 years, 11 months ago

Why now?
Now the city wants to make residents recycle. After a outside company came in. If they do impose this we should have more than one option to go with, let the private company collect trash as well, if they wanted to offer that service. People resent being forced to do something.

And enough with the task forces. Talk about wasted tax dollars.

lunacydetector 3 years, 11 months ago

next up, city mandates solar panels on every house.

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

I am so glad, curbside recycling is a good plan for the long time. I have no trouble leaving my current cart outside. No animals have been able to bother it. Well the squirrels sit on it and crack the walnuts. I will use the small carts, I don't have much trash, mostly paper for the recycling.

mtburton88 3 years, 11 months ago

Some of the businesses listed below have worked over a decade to provide recycling to the Lawrence community. Deffenbaugh which I believe is an awesome company has come in and made things very hard for some of them. Now the city is going to put them out of business.

Our children and future generations quality of life is going to depend on how we treat the planet today. Mandates on recycling have been in place for 10 years in more progressive cities. Everyone isn't going to be happy with the decision, however it's necessary and someone has to make it.

Casualties of war... we sacrifice a few for what we hope is going to make things better for many.

Community Living Opportunities (785) 840-9278

Deffenbaugh Industries (800) 631-3301

D.R.A.W. Services (recycling services for multi-unit apartment complexes and waste reduction/recycling consulting for commercial businesses) (785) 554-9983

Home Recycling Service (785) 979-6633

Jeff's Curbside Recycling (785) 841-1284 (785) 865-6089 cell

Sunflower Curbside Recycling (785) 550-8610

Tree Hugger Recycling (glass curbside recycling only for households and commercial businesses) (785) 550-6267

mtburton88 3 years, 11 months ago

Furthermore, In the midwest Deffenbaugh actually rivals Waste Management which is the largest waste management company in the world. They have a infrastructure, the trucks, the desire to service the Lawrence market.

WHY WHY WHY, spend the millions it's going to cost to purchase recycling trucks and service a community without the infrastructure? People will contaminate, who's going to sort, where is the recycling going to go from Lawrence?

If it's just going to get trucked to Deffenbaugh ANYWAY... what is the point?

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

I have found Deffenbaugh to be one of the most disgusting companies I have ever worked with. I refuse to ever have anything to do with that gang again. Their promises are too good to be true, because they are big time scams.

RDE87 3 years, 11 months ago

Does this new plan include apartment complexes? I feel like (not all, but the majority of) college aged residents in apartment complexes do not recycle because they cannot to pay the extra money or are too lazy to take and sort their recycling items at Walmart. I think that if apartment complexes had recycling bins next to the trash bins they would be more inclined to recycle.

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