By Kevin Kelley
Many people dream of getting a set of four new wheels for their garage.
Fairview Park homeowners will get new wheels this summer. But they’ll belong to trash and recycling bins, not a shiny, new car.
The city is moving to automated collection of trash and recyclable materials in July. Automated pickup involves all residents using similarly designed trash and recycling bins, contents of which can be mechanically dumped into a garbage truck operated by a single worker.
In March, Fairview Park City Council approved a five-year contract with Republic Services. In the first year of the contract, the city’s cost of waste collection is expected to drop from the current figure of $14.40 per household per month to $11.84 per household.
The collection bins, which include wheels for easy maneuverability, will be delivered to residents beginning the week of June 11, said Dave Kidder, a municipal services manager at Republic Services. At a public meeting at City Hall April 24, Kidder deftly answered residents’ questions regarding the new collection procedure.
Residents can begin using the new bins immediately, Kidder said. Brochures fully explaining the automated collection procedures will be attached to the bins, he added.
Kidder explained that automated collection is becoming more common across the country as local governments try to save money.
“You’re not being picked on,” Kidder told the roughly 110 people who attended the meeting. “It’s a nationwide thing.”
One goal of automated collection, Kidder said, is to reduce the amount of trash placed in landfills by increasing the amount that is recycled. Another is to extend the careers of trash collection workers, who are prone to injuries caused by repeatedly lifting heavy trash cans and bags, he added.
Most residents will receive a 95-gallon blue bin for trash and a 65-gallon green one for recycling. However, senior citizens, as determined by those who take advantage of the state homestead tax reduction, will automatically receive a 65-gallon blue trash bin. Other residents can request the 65-gallon trash bin as well. A 32-gallon trash bin is also available upon request. Those requests can be made by calling Republic at 1-800-433-1309.
Republic Services is paying for the bins, which will remain the company’s property. Kidder said Republic will allow a resident to switch to a different size bin once, if they want.
The date on which trash is collected will not immediately change. But, Kidder said ,the plan is for Republic to begin collecting on the same day throughout Fairview Park around the end of 2012.
Yard waste will be collected separately on a weekly basis from April through November. Large items, such as furniture and appliances, will be collected on the week of the third Monday of the month, Kidder said.
Residents’ questions covered a variety of topics, from whether heavy snowfall would affect collection to whether animals were able to get into the bins.
“A raccoon has not figured these out yet,” Kidder said of the bins. A resident had asked whether Republic would supply locks to keep the nocturnal mammals out.
As for snowstorms, Kidder said drivers could, if necessary, reposition a bin if displaced by a snowplow. Bins must be placed within three feet of the curb to be accessed by the collection truck, he said.
Residents West Life spoke with seemed largely open-minded to the new process.
“We’ll learn to adapt to it,” said Dave Clash.
Roberta Jefferies, an avid recycler, said she thinks the new way will be better. “I’ve been looking forward to it,” she said.
David Zock was receptive, although he has some concerns about the collection of yard waste in the summer.
“I don’t see a problem with it,” he told West Life. “I guess we’ll just have to get used to it.”
Residents will have other chances to ask questions at two more public meetings – the first at 6:30 p.m. May 15 at City Hall, 20777 Lorain Road, and the second at 11:30 a.m. May 17 at the senior center, just behind City Hall.