Answering questions on new trash hauling
Last week The Gazette printed another front-page story explaining more details about the city's switch to single-stream recycling this October. I still had a few unanswered questions. Fortunately, Peter Riggs, the city's assistant operations director, answered them by email.
First, those new wheeled, 95-gallon trash bins seem enormous for a two-person household like mine. My wife and I saw both the 95-gallon one and the 65-gallon one. We contacted the city before the June 11 deadline (the city needed a deadline so it could order proper quantities of each) for requesting a smaller one. We figure the smaller one will work fine for recyclables. Still, our garage is small, and I still haven't figured out how we're going to squeeze the big one into it as well as our two vehicles, a lawn mower and a gas grill. Because my wife questioned whether we'd even need the larger one for trash, I asked Riggs to respond.
"Different households have different volumes of waste generation. Some households will never generate 95 gallons of waste, but other households may never generate less than 65 gallons. The month of October is the 'trial' period for the 95-gallon cart, meaning that if you use the default 95-gallon cart in the month of October and you still don’t want it, we will exchange your 95-gallon cart for a 65-gallon cart free of charge in November."
The city, Riggs wrote, strongly encourages residents to try the 95-gallon cart to see if it will work.
"Remember, there is no drawback to only partially filling a 95-gallon cart, but there is a drawback if you select a 65-gallon cart and run out of space for all of your waste."
(No drawback, perhaps, if you have a large enough garage or don't mind having the big thing sitting in the yard).
Second, I asked Riggs what would become of all those used green recycling bins residents have now. Might the city offer a spot to collect and recycle them, or perhaps sell them to some other community to offset costs of this new garbage plan?
Responded Riggs: "Residents can keep their 18-gallon recycling bins if they so choose. They are a handy size, and when cleaned out they are great for use as storage containers."
Residents who don't want to keep the bins may recycle them by placing them inside the new 65- or 95-gallon recyclables carts. The city earns revenue from the sale of this material, Riggs noted.
"Selling the bins to another community for use in curbside collection is not cost-effective or realistic," Riggs wrote. "We would have to collect the containers, organize them, clean them, package them and ship them. I imagine that any potential revenue generated from this sale would not be greater than the labor costs. I also imagine that another community would not be interested in purchasing used containers that are branded with the city of Janesville’s logo and our specific program information. The best option for generating revenue is to recycle them as part of our curbside collection program as detailed above."
Third, I asked Riggs about situations where I might have company or clean house and need more bin space. "Can I set out both my regular trash bin AND fill and set out the one for recyclables (whether same size or smaller) on the collection date/week opposite recycling week?"
Responded Riggs: "Unfortunately, no, trash will only be collected from the designated trash cart. There isn’t a practical way to inform the collection operator that your “recyclables” cart was filled with trash and intended for trash collection.
"Holidays, spring cleaning, and company are all great examples of when your waste volume may exceed your average. You want to make sure that the cart you choose will be able to hold the waste generated during these high-volume situations. Remember, we will only be able to collect the material that is inside the cart. You will want a cart large enough to meet your collection needs for the peak volume of your household and not the average. We strongly encourage residents to use the 95-gallon option as this will minimize the occasions where they run out of space to dispose of waste. Not all households will fill a 95-gallon cart each week, but that’s OK!"
Riggs also noted that if you don't have enough space in your cart, you can:
Ask if you can put your additional waste in a neighbor's cart.
Hold the extra waste until your next scheduled collection.
Take the waste to the sanitary landfill or a local recycling center as appropriate.
Order an additional 95-gallon cart or upgrade to a 95-gallon cart if you start off using a 65-gallon cart.
Finally, I relayed a question posed by a reader. After the city delivers the new trash containers, will it come around with dump trucks and pick up our old trash cans and recycle them?
Wrote Riggs: "We have not yet decided on how to direct citizens to dispose of their old trash containers. Most likely we will offer drop-off sites. Recycling is the best disposal option, but it has some challenges. Once determined, we will publicize the disposal options."
I hope these answer some of the questions you might have, as well.