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.


geoismeo 6 years, 7 months ago

I hate everyone on this stupid "task force".

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 7 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.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

And they'd only charge about 1.8 times as much to do so. Good plan.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

Just because it's got the 5000 signatures doesn't mean the response won't be laughter.

notorious_agenda 6 years, 7 months ago

Never has turning trash to energy worked. Everywhere it has been tried it failed and failed horribly. There is so much info about how it failed I don't even need to have an example just search it sometime.

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, I've tried to do some research into all these failures, and fail to find any. What is your source?

Amy Heeter 6 years, 7 months ago

The city already charges a rental fee per cart.

skinny 6 years, 7 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!!!

Kat Christian 6 years, 7 months ago

I can see it now people who don't want to pay for these carts and putting out their trash anyway and it not being picked up and it just stays there until it gets blow all over the neighborhood. Or people dumping their trash on the outskirts of town in the creeks - whatever just as long as its out of the way and they don't have to pay and extra fee to have it picked up.

lunacydetector 6 years, 7 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"what do i do with my brand new 70 gallon trash can,"

You can hide from all the evil liberals in it.

oldvet 6 years, 7 months ago

The evil liberals are in his 70 gallon trash can???

Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

Where else would you expect to find a liberal?

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

it's not the liberals who are doing this, you think the commissioners are liberals?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I won't claim that it's a fully fleshed out idea, but I don't think the accounting would be that big a hurdle to overcome.

As far as special pickups for things like old furniture, I'd think they could tweak the current system and be just fine. Currently, you have to call in for a special pickup, and there's no charge. Perhaps there should at least be a nominal charge, which could help keep regular monthly charges down.

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

They keep track of a lot of collections. Each truck knows how many houses are on their route. They track tires, they note when and where there are tickets left for improper hazardous waste and report where there are large bulk items to be collected. It is better to call them in. I appreciate how large bulk items are handled by the current system. I wish they had tracked the illegal piles of stuff that everyone pays for but are generated by landlords and tenants who have never been called on to have responsible disposal practice. If I put out my trash in a giant pile, unbagged and with no regard for the simple rules. I would get a ticket.
Given that little beef. I love my cart, and how the carts have reduce spillage and litter in my neighborhood. I have no desire for the hard working sanitation crews to risk injuries on a job that is tough enough.

Jennifer Phythyon 6 years, 7 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.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

Trash carts like the ones illustrated at the headline of the article were priced at $72 each, according to what I was told by the city manager of St. Francis, Kansas in 1996.

eotw33 6 years, 7 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.

parrothead8 6 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who just bought a trash can should have waited? For what? Even if this passes, it's not going to go into effect for months. What should all the people who need new trash cans do with their trash in the meantime, genius? Dump it in your yard?

I have a perfectly good trash can that I bought from a local hardware store almost three years ago. What do I do with it now? This program will cost jobs and waste more materials.

TheYetiSpeaks 6 years, 7 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.

Brian Hall 6 years, 7 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.

BKRJMG 6 years, 7 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

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 7 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.

evilpenguin 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't know if you're supposed to use a liner but I know I don't. I have one of those nice big city cans and it is awesome.

When I see my yard getting filled up with the trash blowing from other people's crappy lidless, overflowing trashcans, I really wish they would just pay the $1.

buffalo63 6 years, 7 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.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

"Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage."

gccs14r 6 years, 7 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.

jj14 6 years, 7 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 6 years, 7 months ago

The lift has a scale. It weighs the full container on the way up, and the empty container on the way down, and logs the difference.

jj14 6 years, 7 months ago

But they still have to log "who is using non-city containers", who is supposed to do that, the driver?

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

No, they simply don't empty them. The automated trucks work only with standardized cans. Leave a non-standard can at the curb and it'll still be full when you get home.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

I imagine that it self-zeroes between carts. As for calibration, that would happen about as often as regular commercial scales are calibrated, which is annually.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

It'd be a one-time expense (plus maintenance contract and upgrades). After it's in place, the data logging would happen automatically, and the data loggers would be placed in slots in the office at the end of the workday. There would be an overnight dump while the units recharge, and the software would add the pound rate to the bills automatically each month. There would be almost zero human interaction.

Steve Miller 6 years, 7 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.

KansasPerson 6 years, 7 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.

keepingfingerscrossed 6 years, 7 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.

Eric Neuteboom 6 years, 7 months ago

That's been a question of mine for some time. Unsurprisingly, no answers from anyone on the committee.

akuna 6 years, 7 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.

justsayno 6 years, 7 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.

kseagle 6 years, 7 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.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 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.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 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.

roundaboutlady 6 years, 7 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?

lawrencian 6 years, 7 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?

sustainabilitysister 6 years, 7 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!

d_prowess 6 years, 7 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?

BlackVelvet 6 years, 7 months ago

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

Oldsoul 6 years, 7 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.

irvan moore 6 years, 7 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

gccs14r 6 years, 7 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.

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