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Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

New solid waste collection to start in the spring

Friday, February 1, 2013

In mid-April the city will test a new automated solid waste collection program. It will start in the southwest part of Spencer, picking up recycling only. Eventually, the program will progress to the whole city in July and include both recycling and garbage pick-up.

An automated system means a driver doesn't leave the cab of the truck because there is an arm that lifts and dumps the recycling and garbage cans into the back of the truck.

The city is in the process of receiving quotes for an additional truck and new automated cans, according to Director of Public Works Mark White.

A low quote for an additional truck is $216,000. And the new containers will cost $350,000-$360,000 depending on delivery options, but the city hasn't made a decision yet. It would cost $400,000 if a company delivered the containers.

"There are a couple reasons driving this," White said. "It is a way to promote increased recycling with larger containers available to the public. And we want to increase efficiency of the operation and give a safe work environment to employees." The automated system keeps employees safe because they won't be getting out of the cab to dump the cans into the truck. Solid waste collection is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, due to accidents involving the truck.

According to White, there will be no additional cost to the public to implement the new system. The pick-up for recycling will be every other week, but garbage pick-up will be the same.

"There will be no changes to the frequency or days of pick-up," White said.

The new containers will be 95-gallon recycling containers and 64-gallon containers for garbage. Though the current recycling container is smaller at 25 gallons, the larger new ones are easy to maneuver, due to wheels on the bottom.

"It will help tremendously on recycling efforts," said Solid Waste Superintendent Kent Herbold. "I think it will be a big benefit."

According to White, the city has been working towards "this conversion" for quite awhile. The initial plan was to just have the "pilot" recycling collection for a year but further investigation prompted the city to do both recycling and garbage at the same time.

"We want this to work well with the public," White said.


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This kind of blows. Right now we can leave out bags, which is really convenient because with bags, we don't have to go out in sub-zero temps to take the cans back in. Also, we don't have to spend 30 minutes after work running down the road when the wind has blown the cans down the street. And when was the last time one of the Sppencer guys was hurt by a truck? Probably never. Are we fixing a something that isn't broken?

-- Posted by Molly Weasley on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 7:48 AM

I have been hoping for this to happen for a long time. These are such nice garbage cans unlike the junk you get at the stores. Hey Molly, I bet the garbage men will be happy not to be out in those sub zero temps all day lol

-- Posted by deweyh on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 8:22 AM

They may be happy to not be out in those sub zero temps but will they be happy collecting unemployment checks? It seems there would be fewer workers needed. Instead of keeping money in the community in the form of wages we will send it out of the community to purchase equipment.

-- Posted by Henry Blake on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 8:56 AM

If Complete Recovery hadn't gone back on the recycling contract with the city, an improved recycling system would have created more jobs in the community. Instead, we'll just be creating more jobs in LeMars. Don't blame the city for trying to be more efficient. It's funny because people love to complain when they think the city is spending too much money and being inefficient, and then they complain when the city tries to streamline things because it might create in "inconvenience." Keep up the good work, Mark, Kent, et al.

-- Posted by No. 3121 on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 11:02 AM

I did get the opportunity to talk to my city council representative a couple months ago. I learned that the city was approached by a salesman from the dumpster co. and the city manager pushed for this too. I heard on the news about how this spendature was to increase our recycling, we actually lose money recycling,and that it would lower our labor costs, and lower our workman comp claims.

First of all the councilman said they were relocating the employee (not really lowering labor costs) and the councilman also stated that workman comp claims were not a problem.

One now must look at the expense to us. We aren't going to be charged now for this system but in a year or two the prices will rise to adhere to running costs...purchasing of dumsters and added costs to have a truck made with lift arm.

I did go take a look at these trashcans and they were almost all frozen to the ground and to the person who says that the retailers garbage containers are horrible...you should see these dumpsters, they are made the same way.

Now, lets look at the true running costs associated to pickup days. With the new system the garbage truck must drive down each street twice in order to collect all bins because the arm on the truck is on one side. So, now you just doubled the fuel costs not to mention idle time that increases when hydrolics are used on any equipment.

Now we just really increased our costs. I asked the councilman how much research was done and he said about nine months...factually it was a trip to a manufactuing company and to Sioux Rapids. I was then told Des Moines uses this system. I found out they only use this system for residential areas located next to commercial buildings. What is my point? It means that Cedar Rapids, Des Moines using Waste Management already know that this system is not efficient in larger towns but only efficient in very small communities.So, they still use the garbage cans and only use the lift dumpters for people who want their yard clippings picked up ($4.00 month fee for garbage bins).

I asked my councilman,if they were concerned with recycling more. Why is garbage day before recycling day? He told me NO ONE even thought of that.

If they would have just reversed recycling and garbage days they would increase the total amount of tonage recycling, making it easier during garbage day for our great city employees to do pickup...lowering risk of being hurt, keeping our fuel and opporating costs low and not taking working tax dollars away from our local stores.

One more note: How "BLUE" is it going to be seeing all of these garbage bins all over Spencer.

By the way...the city councilmam told me he wished he didn't vote for this new garbage system after we talked.

-- Posted by Simba on Fri, Feb 1, 2013, at 5:18 PM

Molly Weasley: I do the same thing...my neighbors all sit their cans at the curb and as windy as it was on Wednesday, their cans were all over the place until they got home from work.

Wow...I don't know where I would even store the 95 gallon container! The city's "one-size fits all" mentality on this is out of touch with reality... Even the 64 gallon garbage container is way bigger than what my wife and I need.

I'm sure I won't be alone if I forgo the behemoth recycling container and simply opt out of recycling altogether...that is until the city decides to buy video cameras installed in the garbage truck hopper and use them to enforce a recycling mandate. This technology is in use in many communities across the country.

-- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Sat, Feb 2, 2013, at 1:51 AM


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