Thursday will be trash day for everybody in Lawrence.
City leaders are hosting a public input session at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to hear comments about a draft report that makes multiple recommendations about how to change the city’s trash and recycling systems.
Completion of the draft report is the most significant step yet in the effort by city commissioners to overhaul the city’s trash system, which in years past has operated at a loss and has created questions about its lack of a city-run curbside recycling program.
The report, crafted by the city’s Solid Waste Task Force, will be delivered to city commissioners, who will make the final decision about any changes to the trash system.
Among the major recommendations in the report:
• Mandatory usage of carts for both trash and recycling. The city would provide two carts to every single-family household. One would be for recycling and one would be for trash. The carts would be compatible with hydraulic lifts on the city’s trash trucks, reducing workers’ compensation costs. The report also leaves open the possibility that the city could switch to fully automated trucks that would reduce the number of crew members on a trash truck from three to one.
• The city solicited proposals from private companies to run a new citywide curbside recycling program. The report recommends that a new curbside recycling program be created but recognizes it must be fiscally feasible. The report recommends any curbside service be offered on a weekly basis.
• Residents would be required to pay for the curbside recycling service, regardless of whether they choose to use the service. The curbside service simply would be included as part of the city’s standard monthly trash rate. The report doesn’t predict how much curbside recycling may add to a resident’s monthly trash bill. Mayor Aron Cromwell, chairman of the task force, previously has said he’s confident total monthly trash bills will be less than $20 per month under any new service.
• Sets a goal of a 50 percent recycling rate for the community by 2020. The city’s current recycling rate isn’t known. The last rate compiled by the city showed it was 34 percent, although that calculation is several years old and the city auditor has questioned the method used for figuring recycling totals.
Residents of apartment complexes largely will have to wait and see what changes may be in store for their trash service. The report does not provide many recommendations for multifamily or commercial trash service, but said changes to the system are possible in the future.
The full draft report can be viewed on the city’s website.