Saturday, October 3, 2009

Garbage (more than you wanted to know)

Still have the same headache, but at least no work today. I've already been playing with my watercolors so it promises to be a much better day!

For those of you who've asked...migraines are hereditary in my family (some of them) and some (this one) very much due to the time of the month. I expect it to be fully gone by tomorrow. I keep it at bay with Advil and Imitrex. Although sometimes it just overtakes me. This week I didn't miss any work due to it though.

A question for all of you. If your garbage pick-up service was changed dramatically (like from an alley to curbside or the other way around, would you raise a fuss? How about if your garbage pick-up service no longer allowed you to use your own cans and bags but instead wanted to convert you to roll-carts for automated collection purposes....would you raise a fuss? What if you were offered curbside recycling and you've never had that before, would you get angry?

That's what this past week has been about. Our company is moving from traditional can/bag pick-up to automated collections. We've bought new trucks that have a hydraulic arm that the operator can move from inside the truck to pick up carts. It requires that our customers choose a size of container that they want and also includes a recycling container to use in conjunction with the garbage cart. If they choose a smaller container (and recycle more) it will cost them less. If they refuse to recycle and choose a larger trash container, it will cost them more. Because of the way the new trucks are made, we cannot make it into all the alleys that we used to service. Some of our customers MUST switch to curbside. And garbage service is mandatory in this area.

Before you answer my questions, consider the following:

Automated collections has been proven to cut down on worker's compensation costs. It is less physically hard on our driver's bodies. Over the years many of our guys have had to have shoulder and back surgeries due to the nature of the job.

We provide the new roll-carts at NO COST to the customer unless they intentionally damage or lose them.

It allows us to pick up recycling instead of making people drive it themselves to a recycling center. This is somewhat new in our city although one of the other garbage companies has been offering it on a voluntary basis.

It costs a little more than what they've been used to paying, unless they choose the very smallest cart. Then they actually pay less than previously. (it's a way to encourage recycling by hitting the pocket book)

Our city does a very poor job of removing snow from the alleys after heavy snowfalls and believe it or not, Alaska does have substantial snow in the winter and winter lasts a long time. Even with our old trucks we sometimes had to skip alley's in the winter because we couldn't maneuver in them.

It was mandated by our last mayor and passed the assembly. The municipal leaders wanted to see this change in our city.

To be fair - here's the customers side of the story:

I don't want to use your garbage service! (sorry, it's mandatory and you'll need to take that up with your assembly person)

You can't force me to recycle! (we aren't trying to force you to do will just cost less if you will try recycling. please. If you don't want the recycle cart, we'll take it away)

It costs more! (yes, it does. But so does gas, employee wages, automated trucks, and the price of everything in our lives. Ours is still the cheapest service in town.)

I don't want to switch to the curb. (sorry - if your alley's were clear all winter and if the electrical, phone, cable companies would quit hanging their lines so low that we hit them with the mechanical arms it wouldn't be a problem. But it is.)

I don't have room for these carts. (really? you had room for 6 bags of garbage. you had room for 4 garbage cans before and now it's down to 2 - 1 recycle cart and 1 garbage cart)

This is life working at the garbage utility. It's not all seagulls and ravens. Do you get the feeling I needed to vent?


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I hope you feel better. It is difficult for people to change, even a simple thing like trash pickup. It will all iron out.

tainterturtles said...

It really is hard for people to change or to see the benefits that will help our world in the future. Our society lives on the "today" only mentality.

I've lived in the countryside for 25 years. I'm so used to hauling our trash can down to the end of our long drive, that I dont' even think about it anymore. I just know that it's easier for the driver to pick it up on the edge of the highway.

As for recycling, it's the only way our earth will stay clean and healthy. It's up to mankind to respect the earth and do your part in recycling. We've been recycling for years and years so we don't even think twice about it.

I sure hope people in your city will except the changes, it's only for the good.

Jenny said...

1 I really do hope that your headache goes away today.

2 I will not comment on the "new" way of doing things as you and I have never agreed about garbage lolololol
3 So is recycling really coming to Ak? Are they really going to barge it outta here at the rates charged for shipping or did a new business come to town ( or is it all still going to the land fill and this is what they call it so people feel good?)

And finally hey how are you? Saw your sweetie the other day when I was hauling my trash to the dump even tho the MOA has that silly rule that I got to have your guys pick it up. After a week of sitting there they always only empty one can and the neighbors loose cats and dogs love it. I want you to know I really do love you when your cranky and I promise not to push anymore buttons. I just couldn't resist sorry You could call me sometime. Been busy remodeling my house and am making sure the MOA doesn't start fining me for have "junk" in my yard again. I actually think the can thing is good and I am real glad to know its happening cause I was going down to the local BIG can dealer Monday. My two little cans are about beat to death from being banged against the trashtruck. One of them you can't get a bag of garbage down in it if you opened up and poured it in' And I will look into getting a better (new?) trash can holder built. I've been tossing the idea around about just getting a dumpster cause we all know how much stuff I got to get rid of still. I promise I will only throw away the things I can't donate Love ya lots

Kellie said...

Hey PAK, don't you just love older sisters. They sure know where to stick the knife in and how much to twist it.

No trash service for me in rural WI. We do recycle cans, plastics, glass and all that up at our town hall.

When we first moved here we lived in Eau Claire and they fined you and left your trash for you to sort if you didn't do it. We figured out how to sort real quick.

Jenny said...

Now come on those were honest questions on my part, Kellie. But your right about I was and am still good at pushing her buttons. Used to be I didn't realize I did it and now that I'm all grown up I try not to, but The dump/landfill is one I just can't help myself (my evil twin, Skippy, just comes out). I am publicly apoligizing to my sister. I truly hope that your headache goes away and God willing never comes back. I also think that recycling is a very good thing. I would be estatic if this is the real deal. That all the recyclable material would actually get to a center for use. Economically it has always cost more to get it to a center than what it would be worth and has always been a bait and switch by the powers that be in government. Patty I KNOW that you do not make these discisions, you just get to implement and deal with the aftermath and for that I applaud you. I would have a headache too. One of the reasons I am now retired. Got tired of trying to explain to coworkers and customers that change is good esspecially when it is mother earths health at stake.

K. said...

Oh, I hope your headache goes away. I also think your headache came to me today.

As for garbage, we moved from an apartment building that had no recycling and one big dumpster for the building. When we bought our house, we had our own bin, and no recycling container. Two weeks after moving in they changed it to needing the garbage can on wheels for the automatic trucks and recycling bins. We had to buy our own wheelie-carts, though. First recycling bin is free.

I was thrilled! Wheeled cans are way easier for me to haul out to the curb. And actual recycling! Nice! My only complaint is the recycling containers don't have lids, and we live in the land of wind and snow for half the year. In the mornings, papers and bags and cans are up and down the streets when we have heavy winds overnight. Otherwise, I don't really see the fuss.

Some people just like to complain, unfortunately, and don't realize it's an actual PERSON they're complaining to and not some machine.

Cathy said...

Venting is absolutely okay. Now I could vent on hormones...

Jenny said...


That sounds like a real interesting subject to vent about....were you going to include health reform in that too. We may all have to exchange e-addy's or find some place else to carry these side lines out.....ooops this is my sisters blog. sorry PAK sometimes I get carried away and forget where I am Love ya Hows that Migraine? Been sending you loving/healing thoughts(prayers) and am noticing you haven't been back for a couple of days now. Stopped myself from calling you just in case you wasn't feeling good cause of it.

janice said...

I am not in your service area but for what I pay and what I take to the curb - GRRRRR.

I don't have to take garbage service but would it be leagal for me to take my trash to the home of one of your customers? With their permission of course......