Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solid Waste Task Force calls for required trash carts

October 26, 2011


The trash cart rolls on.

The city’s Solid Waste Task Force made its strongest statement yet that it believes residents should be required to use city-issued trash carts instead of trash cans or bags.

The task force Wednesday evening unanimously agreed to include in its draft report a statement calling for the city to increase the automation of its trash collection system by requiring use of the carts. The task force cited that the carts will save the city money and cut down on injuries of sanitation workers because the carts can be emptied using hydraulic lifts rather than being lifted by employees.

“In order for the city to have a competitive operation and to make good progress, this is the way the industry is going,” said Charlie Sedlock, a task force member who also is a manager for Hamm Inc., the company that operates the landfill used by the city.

Task force members, though, weren’t able to reach such agreement on whether to create a pricing system that would charge people based on the amount of trash they set out each week. The task force has discussed a “variable rate pricing” system that would charge people based on the number of carts they use to contain their trash. A household that needs two carts from the city to manage its trash would pay more than a household that needs only one, for example.

But task force members said they weren’t yet ready to include that idea in the draft report. Members said they wanted more information about how households that occasionally have more trash than can fit into one container would be charged. Several task force members said that such occasional overages shouldn’t force a household into renting a second cart from the city.

“I just don’t think we have explored this concept in enough depth,” said Suzi Cammon, a task force member.

The issue of curbside recycling also was determined to need more study by the task force. Task force members expressed a strong desire to add a curbside recycling component to the city’s service. But several members said they were concerned about what the public’s reaction would be to a system that required all households in the city to pay for curbside recycling, regardless of whether a household chooses to use the service.

City officials do not yet have a firm estimate for how much such a service may cost. Staff members suggested that the task force recommend a request for proposals from private companies on two types of services. One service would be a “turn-key” service where the private company would do the collection and processing of recycled materials. The second service would be a processing-only service. Under that scenario, city crews would do the collection of the curbside recycling.

Receiving official proposals from private companies would allow the city to create a firm estimate on how much curbside recycling would cost the average household. Ultimately, city commissioners would decide whether the service is financially feasible.

Task force members Wednesday said they wanted to have more discussion before making any recommendations on curbside recycling.

Task force members did agree on several other potential recommendations. They included:

• Continuing to have trash picked up once per week by city crews. The task force showed no interest in outsourcing the city-operated trash service to a private company.

• Maintaining weekly collection of yard trimmings, in order for those materials to be diverted from the landfill.

• An examination of whether “vegetative food waste” — basically food that is not dairy or meat-based — could be picked up and recycled at the same time yard trimmings are collected. City staff members said there was good potential to include the food waste items into the city’s composting operations.

The task force is expected to complete its draft report by the end of the year. The report then will be forwarded to the City Commission, which will make the final decision on any changes to the city’s trash or recycling systems.


gccs14r 2 years, 5 months ago

If the City doesn't do anything to address unequal charges, inconsistency in collection methods, and the lack of universal recycling, people will complain about that, too, and clamor for a private sector solution that ultimately will be both more expensive and less accommodating. Be careful what you wish for.


irvan moore 2 years, 5 months ago

commissioner schumm this is your big chance to come through for the citizens of lawrence, stand up to cromwell and protect the people you were elected to serve


Oldsoul 2 years, 5 months ago

If I can manage my less than five pounds of trash per pickup the sanitation workers definitely should be able to. Like typical Douglas County bright crayons, they carted off my former trash bin to the landfill.

Those city-issued trash carts are so big and clunky, and when you live in a small place there's nowhere convenient to store them.Yeah, and I think they add a fee to the already black market city services bill for using them.


BlackVelvet 2 years, 5 months ago

Sounds to me like "an ingenious solution to a nonexistent problem."


d_prowess 2 years, 5 months ago

I feel like whenever I see the trash collectors working, they are moving very fast. But if they have to have the truck lift and dump each can, will that make trash collection a longer process? Have they discussed this already?


sustainabilitysister 2 years, 5 months ago

I have lived in cities that used the Pay-as-you-throw system. This is a much more fair system. Just pay for the bags. I know this has been spoken about before in Lawrence but I don't remember why it stopped being discussed. I loved it!


lawrencian 2 years, 5 months ago

The thing I am curious about is how this will affect locations such as where I live, a townhouse community with something like 12 dumpsters... We're already using a city-owned "container", so that price will stay the same, right?

And if they mandate recycling, how will they handle it -- another differently marked dumpster?


roundaboutlady 2 years, 5 months ago

I do NOT want that Gigantic city trash can in my small garage!!!!!!! There are already a ton of people that leave their trash cans outside all week cuz they don't have the space in the garage. Who wants to look at your neighbors trashcan?


Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

If the population was as up in arms about the USA being involved in so many wars as the citizens of Lawrence are about the issue of how their trash is disposed of, the wars would have been ended long ago.

That's what it looks like to me, anyway.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

The city is crying poverty and they are willing to go to any lengths to increase revenue. The idea of reducing spending and the imagined every new gimmick that some snake-oil salesman has dropped on them is simply not workable in the minds of our foolish and incompetant city commission.


kseagle 2 years, 5 months ago

Time to get out the diapers and talcum powder, so when these wimps come by you can change their diapers too. If these lazy workers won't do their jobs, there are plenty of others out there that are ready to take their place.


justsayno 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's see, I put out one trash bag about every three weeks that I toss over a six foot high fence in my back yard and have never injured myself and now I may be required to rent a container from the city? Maybe we could put a computer on the trash truck to monitor all of those that put out an excessive amount of trash and charge them extra for the extra work that they create and quit overcharging those that keep their trash output down. That's probably too easy for the pea-brains that we have running this show. I live on a very limited retirement income with no COLA and no work years longevity bonus at the end of the year as some city workers have and somehow I have to maintain that budget. This is probably a long shot but just maybe these city people and task forces could realize that we are not all made of money. Nah, never happen here. Just a dream because they don't care.


demonfury 2 years, 5 months ago

The minute this gets approved is the first day that all of my trash gets dumped in receptacles at Lawrence City Parks or other city properties. I pass 2-3 everyday on my way to and from work. Guess I'll throw my bags there !!! It''s forced extortion like this that is a big reason why Lawrence is in decline.


akuna 2 years, 5 months ago

The complainers are hilarious. If trash collection were run by a private company, they would most likely insist that you use a standardized cart, and you'd have to pay for it either outright or through a small monthly fee. A standardized cart makes the job more efficient and reduces injuries. Two things that will make garbage collection cheaper, which is why private companies would do this. But since big bad government wants to become more efficient, let's make a ruckus.


keepingfingerscrossed 2 years, 5 months ago

Everyone is complaining about trash. Why don't you look at your bill the sewer is the most coast to you it has went up and no one is talking about it. And you pay for the rain water that is running off your land in to the street.


KansasPerson 2 years, 5 months ago

We try to be open to new ideas but I'm not sure about this one. We rent a bin from the city now, but we use our other, older trashcans as backup. Our trash is back on the alley and we can't easily see what goes on back there. Every week there is at least one bag in my bin that we didn't put there, not to mention random beer cans or bottles, and sometimes we have to use our "overflow" trashcans. I don't want to be charged extra just because some random passerby drives down our alley looking for a good place to dump their trash.


Steve Miller 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't make it complicated, take your junk to the local dumpster and forget the rest. Then they' can reduce the work force.


jj14 2 years, 5 months ago

So, every house they visit - they will keep track of how much trash we EACH have? That sounds like a great way for them to save money. That would take forEVER to do the regular route. This is insanity. What is the problem to begin with???


gccs14r 2 years, 5 months ago

If the City wants to encourage recycling, they can charge households extra for not doing it. Don't want the blue bin? Fine. Extra $10 per week. Never have anything in the bin? Extra $10 per week. People will take the hint, eventually.

I do hope they offer an extra small cart for folks who have no need for a 30+ gallon cart.


buffalo63 2 years, 5 months ago

George Williams had is right when he was in charge. If you put anything on the curb and call ( if it is a big item), the City will pick it up. Rather have that then going out someplace and dumping in a ditch or someone's back yard. Had some friends once that regularly dumped their trash in businesses' dumpters until they got caught. Forgot to take out the letters with their address, etc.


FlintlockRifle 2 years, 5 months ago

Do you have to put a ""liner"" in the city containers?? We put out a 1/2 trash bag per week, rest goes to recycle center, rip off time coming from big sis.


BKRJMG 2 years, 5 months ago

Lets just make their job even easier... Dont they already only work 4-6 hours a day and get paid for 8? Knuckle up, garbage man


Brian Hall 2 years, 5 months ago

If they are going to force these trash cans on people then they need to go the route Topeka goes: the first can is free, additional cans cost and they deliver the cans to you. You should also be able to opt out of city-paid waste service and be able to choose a private company if that's what you want.


consumer1 2 years, 5 months ago

eotw33 what an idiotic statement. When you graduate from KU and actually take on some adult responsibilities, (like being a homeowner/ taxpayer), you might understand why it is important to resist the city's efforts to tax and charge us into the poorhouse. Hopefully, then you will understand. This entire trash collection change is soley driven by a handful of people in Lawrence who want this city to cater to their ideals of saving the world. What are the statistics on injuries of employee's that is being used as a "reason for change" listed above??? Locally??
If it isn't broke. Don't fix it. The other thing you don't understand is this, this will just be the beginning, prices will increase!! If not every year, then every other year until it is so expensive we will not be able to afford it. So, 1 $ now will be two next year then $4 then $7.


TheYetiSpeaks 2 years, 5 months ago

Solid Waste Task Force? Dude, you're a garbage man. Why don't you add a few more syllables. You can change the name of the job but it doesn't change the job, garbage man.


eotw33 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's all cry about trash cans. They're only like $1/month and most people in Lawrence already pay for that anyway. As well as paying extra for having more trash. God forbid the city save itself some money and make itself look cleaner. And if you just bought a trash can that's your own fault, this has been in the news forever maybe you should of waited...or you can use it to store your opinions.


sleepyone 2 years, 5 months ago

I really do not mind if the city wants me to use one of their trash carts but I object to the "rent" they charge. Tell us how much these carts costs and give an options to pay to own.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

If they go with the required trash cart, allow residents to put extra trash out twice a year (in a plastic barrel?) with no extra charge. If they are putting more out than that, they get charged for it. And if they are doing it regularly enough, they might find a second cart more economical.

And while some folks my decide to go in search of a dumpster instead of paying for the extra cart, the great majority will find that way more work than it's worth.


lunacydetector 2 years, 5 months ago

just because other communities are forcing their citizens into buying specific trash carts does not make it right. what do i do with my brand new 70 gallon trash can, throw it out?

i wish the environmentalists would stop pushing their 'religion' on me.


skinny 2 years, 5 months ago

The trash carts are fine if the city wants to pay for them without raising my trash rates!! Otherwise, I will not use them!!!


Amy Heeter 2 years, 5 months ago

The city already charges a rental fee per cart.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Why don't you buy an ad for AAEC, les?


Les Blevins 2 years, 5 months ago

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Les Blevins 2 years, 5 months ago

Forcing trash carts on all the people, even on those who don't want nor need them is not the answser and lanfill operators who don't support changes to the system are only looking out for their own interests. Waste industry trade journals report changes are coming. See the notice posted here from one of them.

National petition seeks landfill and incinerator closures but the question remains; how would this be possible?

Sept. 23, 2011

A petition calling for the closing of all landfills and waste incinerators in the next five years is headed for the White House. If the petition gets 5,000 signatures by Oct. 22, the Obama administration will review it and respond. The petition is on We the People, a new feature on that allows citizens to create petitions. Contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Vince Bond Jr. at or 313-446-1653.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

All this will do is encourage illegal dumping and creative ways to dispose of things. There is nothing broke about the trash system except, it should be turned over to private enterprise. Private companies actually pay taxes into the system, instead of demanding tax money from the system. What a bunch of morons.


geoismeo 2 years, 5 months ago

I hate everyone on this stupid "task force".


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