Bay considers automated trash pick-up system

The city of Bay Village has started gathering facts and exploring the possibility of switching to an Automated Refuse Collection System for all residents within the city. On Monday, June 21, the city’s Services, Utilities, and Equipment Committee held a meeting during which Dave Kidder of Allied Waste/Republic Services made a presentation outlining the benefits of automated refuse collection. The company currently has a contract with the city for picking up residential trash one day a week.

Under the proposed system, all homes in Bay Village will receive a 96-gallon wheeled refuse container, which holds the equivalent content of four trash cans, and a 64-gallon recyclables container which residents will place on the tree lawn on their collection day. Although trash is presently picked up city wide every Tuesday, collection days have yet to be determined for the new system. They may be spread out over a three-day period throughout the city, possibly Wednesday through Friday.

Trash and recyclable material in the containers will be picked up by automated refuse trucks. These trucks will require less labor and fuel than the current system. The containers will be dumped into the trucks using a hydraulic lifting system. This will significantly reduce work-related injuries and increase efficiency of refuse employees.

An added benefit to the automated system is that residents will have separate containers for recyclables, decreasing amount of waste materials destined for landfills and increasing the amount of recycled materials. The system, which is used in Avon, has resulted in homeowners tripling their weekly recyclables from 5 ½-6 pounds per week, or about 9% of the total volume of garbage collected, to roughly 18-20 pounds per week. The percentage of residents recycling also increased from 35 to 80 percent.

Many Bay Village residents now recycle with the current curbside program but an increase in recycling participants is likely if the city implements the new automated system. For the recycling program in Avon, Allied partnered with a company called RecycleBank. The company rewards residents for recycling by installing a computer chip on each cart. The recyclables collected are weighed and divided and participants are given reward points.

RecycleBank solicits participants from businesses in the community to offer incentives to residents in the form of coupons for discounted purchases. Recycling weekly, the average resident can receive approximately $240.00 per year in discounts from local merchants from the points that they accumulate.

During the June 21 meeting, Diane T. Bickett, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, echoed Mr. Kidder’s comments regarding the benefits of automation to communities. She stated that providing recycling containers to every residential home is an opportunity to redouble recycling efforts and is pleased that Bay Village is considering automated collection since it is a much more clean and efficient method.

As sustainability programs increase in cities, Bay Village will place a stronger emphasis on raising recycling awareness and encourage residents to participate in the environmentally-friendly program. We’re seeing more cities in our area move towards automated trash collection and this initial presentation to the city is the first step in examining the benefits of this system for both the city and the residents of Bay Village.

Costs and a timeframe for implementation of an automated  trash collection program have yet to be determined. As the process continues, a public meeting will be scheduled to present the idea and gather residents' input on replacing the current trash collection program.

Read More on Bay Village
Volume 2, Issue 13, Posted 9:07 PM, 06.26.2010