Mandated city trash carts: Lawrence leaders are betting you’re going to like them better than you think.
Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday meeting took another step toward creating a trash system that will require residents to use special city trash carts instead of cans or bags, and they said they’re confident residents will grow to love the carts.
“This change will be difficult for some people, but we’ll work through it,” said City Commissioner Bob Schumm. “It will make us a greener and a better community, and you’re going to love yourself more as a result of it.”
Commissioners didn’t make any final decisions Tuesday, but they indicated a system requiring the use of city-issued trash carts is likely. Commissioners directed staff members to prepare a report on how the city could implement a cart system.
City officials pointed to a survey done by the city of Olathe that found residents there had many concerns alleviated about the plastic carts once they began using them. For example, before the carts were issued, 69 percent were concerned they wouldn’t have enough space to store the cart. After usage, that concern fell to 16 percent.
Commissioners also touted data indicating the carts dramatically will improve the safety of city sanitation workers. The new carts would allow all trash to be dumped with a hydraulic lift rather than lugged by workers. That’s significant, city officials said, because they estimate the average Lawrence trash worker lifts 7,500 pounds in a single day.
“I think we do need to think about the safety of the people who are providing a great service,” Mayor Aron Cromwell said.
City commissioners are expected to get a report back in several weeks, and any changes to the trash system likely would take several months to implement.
In other trash news:
• Commissioners made no decision on how large the trash carts may be, but they had on display 35 gallon, 65 gallon and 95 gallon carts.
• The idea of creating a curbside recycling service that would be added to everyone’s monthly bill also will get more study. Commissioners said they wanted to hear how a request for proposals could be put together for a private company to offer such a service citywide. They also told staff to prepare a report for how the city could provide the service itself. But commissioners stopped short of saying they planned to add the service. Several said they still had concerns about how much a curbside system may add to monthly bills.