|What you need to know: Janesville's new trash collection system|
|Written by RIck West/Janesville Messenger|
|Monday, 30 July 2012 14:11|
An operator for Rock Disposal collects trash this week in the town of Turtle using an automated system. In October, crews in the city of Janesville will begin collecting trash and recycling with similar automated trucks. Rick West/staff
JANESVILLE — Chuck Burk has lived in the town of Turtle for more than 45 years, so he wasn’t sure what to expect about two years ago when the township contracted with Rock Disposal to switch to an automated system for trash collection and single-stream recycling.
“I think it was a good move,” Burk said of the township’s change in collection method. “The (containers) are easy to wheel out and they’re very durable, and I’m sure it saves a lot of labor and time with the equipment the way it’s set up.”
(Read all of this week's stories in the Janesville Messenger HERE.)
Officials with the city of Janesville are hoping residents will have the same reaction when the city converts its collection method starting in October.
“In the short term there are some costs, but in the long term there will be savings with automation of trash pick up,” Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt said. “By being able to increase efficiency and hopefully reduce annual expenditures on the program.”
Janesville will convert to an automated system, which allows a single driver to stay inside the truck and use a mechanical claw to grab and dump a standardized collection container.
The new system should result in savings to the city because it requires fewer hours and reduces workman’s compensation claims.
“Manual waste collection is associated with higher rates of employee injuries and lost-time incidents,” said John Whitcomb, operations director for the city of Janesville. “Moving to automated systems generally resolve nearly all of those issues.”
In order to switch to the automated system, the city council approved $3.15 million to purchase six new collection trucks. The city currently has 11 trucks and the conversion to an automated system will require just 10 vehicles.
Whitcomb said six of the current fleet were scheduled to be replaced a year ago, and four trucks — purchased two years ago — are configured to allow for retrofitting to automated pick up.
The city will eliminate two operator positions, but according to Whitcomb, the positions will be reduced through attrition.
The city also purchased 47,000 new containers, in two sizes, 95 gallon and 65 gallon, for the conversion.
Between Sept. 5 and Sept. 28, two of these wheeled containers, known as toters, will be delivered to Janesville residents, one to be used for trash and the other for recyclables. Information about the new collection system and route schedule will be included (see related graphic).
Whitcomb said the city had estimated the cost to purchase the 47,000 garbage toters at $55 each, or about $2.5 million, but the actual cost is only about $46, saving the city over $400,000.
“Right now we believe the costs, previously estimated, were on the high side,” Whitcomb said. “We think that the overall program costs will come in lower than the costs for the existing program.”
In November, the Janesville City Council also voted to not raise the annual collection free for residents. The $40 annual fee, which went into affect in 2010, will remain for 2012.
“The fee covers about half of the actual cost for collection,” Whitcomb said.
In addition to automated collection, the city will convert to single-stream recycling, allowing residents to mix paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and other approved recyclables into the same container.
Operators employed by the city will continue to collect trash and recyclables.
“The cost for (the city) to collect has been as low if not lower than other comparable communities in this area,” Levitt said. “So we didn’t look at changing that, but it is something we could look at in the future.”
Levitt said the current contract with the union representing the city’s trash collection operators expires at the end of the year.
Operators will continue to dispose of trash at the city of Janesville landfill, however, the city has agreed to a five-year contract with Rock Disposal for the receipt and processing of recyclable refuse.
“We have a shared revenue agreement, and based upon the markets, (the city of Janesville) gets paid for the (recyclable) materials accordingly,” said Robert Klimoski, owner of Rock Disposal.
The Rock Disposal facility on Townline Road between Beloit and Janesville accepts No. 1 through No. 7 recyclables, even though the best return on investment is with No. 1 and No. 2 recyclables.
“There is value now, and technology available, that allows for the recycling of 3 through 7,” Klimoski said. “Our facility, though it has a small footprint, is state of the art and allows us to deal effectively with the recyclables we receive and to do more than other people are doing.”
Klimoski said Rock Disposal sells its plastic recyclables to various plants that separate the types of plastic, but sells its mixed-paper products locally to Beloit Boxboard.
“This is really a community-based operation where we get the paper from Janesville and Rock County and Beloit Boxboard uses a lot of it,” Klimoski said.
Rock Disposal’s agreement with the city also calls for the company to provide a transfer site at the Janesville landfill. Klimoski is confident the transfer site will be in operation by early October.
Whitcomb reminds residents that the transition to automation could result in some changes in the actual time of day for collection and reminds residents that city ordinance requires containers to be curbside by 7 a.m. on collection day.
Klimoski said residents would soon realize that these trash toters are very durable; virtually vermin proof, and just look better than other type containers.
“The city will look better as a result of this — and be cleaner,” Klimoski said.
|Last Updated on Monday, 30 July 2012 14:18|