Archive for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tour gives Solid Waste Task Force a crash course in Lawrence trash and recycling process

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. Now, it's 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.

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. Now, it's 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.

May 17, 2011

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Past Event
Solid Waste Task Force public input meeting

  • When: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets, Lawrence
  • More on this event....
John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

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

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

The downtown alleys at about 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday were filled with the unmistakable sounds of beer bottles clanging together in a trash bin about to be emptied and taken to the landfill.

That’s nothing new. But what was new was that members of the city’s Solid Waste Task Force were there to hear it, and wonder why it happens.

“That was a real sign to me that we’re not doing enough to promote glass recycling in this town,” said Suzi Cammon, a member of the task force studying possible changes for the city’s trash and recycling systems. “I’m out here looking for areas that we can create incentives for people to produce less trash.”

Task force members loaded into a city bus Tuesday morning and followed around a city trash truck crew while it emptied alleys in downtown, in the Oread neighborhood and in a more traditional suburban neighborhood.

The tour was part of what Mayor Aron Cromwell said is a “crash course” in how the city currently operates its trash and recycling businesses.

Understanding how the system works, will be critical when it comes to make recommendations on how the system should change. For example, buying more fully-automated trucks that use smaller crews is an idea that is expected to get discussion by the task force.

But Tuesday’s tour showed how such trucks may struggle in the alleys and the densely populated student districts where parked cars and overhead power lines could interfere with the trucks’ robotic-like arms.

The tour also highlighted how much faster crews can operate in a typical suburban neighborhood when residents use wheeled trash carts instead of the standard trash cans. The task force is expected to discuss the idea of requiring residents to use the trash carts that can be emptied with mechanical lifts.

“I think we’re seeing there are areas that automation will work pretty well, and there are areas where it won’t work,” Cromwell said.

As for recycling, Cromwell said he will push for some improvements in that area even before the task force finishes its report, which likely will be in about 10 months. Cromwell said he will lobby to have money for an improved glass recycling system included in the 2012 budget. He said glass collection containers need to be placed near bars, and he said he is continuing to work with Kansas City-based Ripple Glass to take glass collected by the city. The company uses the glass to make insulation.

“We want to do a lot better at recycling,” Cromwell said. “We’re above average nationally, but we’re the type of community that we should be way above average. People should be looking to us to see what is possible in this area.”

Comments

seeker_of_truth 3 years, 11 months ago

Cromwell has already decided to privatize waste collection. Deffenbaugh needs the revenue. Screw the workers and the the best waste collection system in Kansas. Cromwell is a prime example of what is wrong with City Council and the process of letting every one of these clowns act as mayor for a year. His year is being spent destroying a good system. He obviously has never heard the old mantras, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Let me make a prediction. I'll ask you for some basis for your statements, and you'll ignore that request.

Put up or shut up, seeker.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Nice rant, but I'm no fan of Deffenbaugh. I'm just amazed at the daft obsession that seeker is on about the supposed conspiracy between them and Cromwell.

nativeson 3 years, 11 months ago

Based on the current composite of the City Commission, I would be very surprised if there is any move to outsource solid waste. The system is good based on the goals set years ago by the leadership in the department. The problem is that the department is not set up to be efficient or cost-effective in a changing environment.

Until the recent audit, the solid waste trucks did not have GPS. They had no idea where trucks were at any time of the day. The audit reveals time and attendance issues that were not being tracked. The department also said curbside recycling was not cost effective, and now they are working on a model that might present an option that will not increase costs for the consumer from what they are now paying.

The fact is that we have a good group of employees that did what they were instructed to do for years, and the leadership did not keep up with changing times. Deffenbaugh will definitely make a run at the service. They are now beginning to offer services to commercial accounts. In the end they may erode revenue for the City, and I hope the City develops the right solution to provide the right service for increasing landfill costs that recycles at a higher rate.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, and your proposal would lead to a police state. Not to mention hAVING ALL OF US BECOME TRASH SORTERS AT A VERY BAsic level!

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Sorry that you are consuming excessively. Try to do better.

Joseph Jarvis 3 years, 11 months ago

@ Chad Lawhorn:

"Task force members loaded into a city bus Tuesday morning and followed around a city trash truck crew while it emptied alleys in downtown, in the Oread neighborhood and in a more traditional suburban neighborhood."

A suburban neighborhood is "more traditional" than a historic downtown or the Oread neighborhood? Huh?

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Really

You have data or just ranting. Could our 50K plus or minus renters be a contributor?? Nah - they are all good guys/gals. Bull!

Time the rental communitry paid the piper

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Ripper: Of course it is more time consuming to come dump individual 50 Gal trash containers. Of course it requires a bit more equipment to dump large dumpsters. That is not what drew my comment.

I am still poking at your seeming notion that we all over consume and that sorting trash is a noble civic service when done by each of us. When Al Gore and the rest of the zillionaire LEADERSHIP CONSUME BY dropping back to maybe one super mansion and two cars maybe I will be more receptive to going further.

We recycle - have for the last 25 years. That said I don't clean the cardboard wrappers with residual food so I can recycle them. They go in the trash. Outer wrappers and the like get recycled. Deserved or not I put you in the category that would require me to wash that cardboard and mulch my food scraps - a bridge too far for me.

Leadership where I come from is by example not coercion

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

What energy crisis- the one some of us are creating by stupid policy?

Kontum1972 3 years, 11 months ago

so whats wrong with wal-marts recycle center?

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Aha, the real challenge surfaces. We are diverse. What works for residential property owners does not work for high density rental or for urban business. If we mandate glass recycling how do we enforce - dumpster diving by city employees? Hallway patrols in large rental complexes?

We can try to encourage more conservation/recycling but enforcing it will become a nightmare where we terrorize low hanging fruit and are laughed at by those we can not reach. Is this another snow removal mandate where 25% are expected to perform and the rest skate? Feels good but at what social cost.

melott 3 years, 11 months ago

The system works fine, so naturally they are going to try to change it. Garbage collection is one of the few things the city does well--but that clearly won't last long.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

"Cromwell has decided that the city will privatize g/arbage collection. End of story."

How do you know this?

The answer is that you don't. You're a real piece or work.

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

We should be collecting paper/cardboards curbside, then add the expensive harder to collect and recycle items such as plastics and glass. There is recyclable papers in every home and business in town, it is the largest by volume of our recyclable material currently being landfilled. It has the most stable market.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

For a small fee someone will come take your cardboard weekly or you can take it to the various recycling points around the city. How could you not know that?

pace 3 years, 11 months ago

Oh , you bad man, you tempt me to make fun of your argument and declare , don't be stupid. Feel free to argue you prefer a separate service that serves some people. That is fine , if you think that. I would recommend citywide curbside collection of paper/cardboard.recyclables. I like drop off sites for plastics and glass. I think the most sensible way is for the city to include a weekly or monthly collection of paper and cardboards. I really dislike Deffenbaughs. I have worked with them on a variety of project, their deals are just too good to be true. I wouldn't do a signed contract with that firm. It would tarnish my name to be associated with them.

George Lippencott 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually pace I have no problem with the city moving to recycling as long as we don't get anal about it.

On the other hand, I don't want to be left with stuff I can not get rid of because you want me to recycle it on my property while you get a service that allows you to send what you want to recycle away for someone else to deal with.

How typically Lawrence. I want mine. Screw you!

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