June 23, 2006

Moline begins coping with automated garbage pick-up

Presumably, all the thousands of monotonously identical trash bins are now distributed in the city of Moline, and with that, the city enters the ranks of other towns both nationally and locally who've already instituted this reportedly cost saving system. (Though notably, Moline still has NOT joined the even larger ranks of cities and towns which offer some form of curb-side recycling.)

I find the bins incredibly unsightly when lined up for blocks on end. The first thing that strikes you is that they're HUGE. Most people seemed to end up with the larger 96 gallon size container, and they're big enough to hold a good sized hog or a Shetland pony. (which will probably happen, sooner or later.)

In addition to making it glaringly clear that people throw out a LOT of garbage, (according to the manufacturer, the large cans are rated to hold up to 335 lbs of trash safely.) the cans also add to a jarring Stepford Wife monotony, with endless identical gray cans lined up to the horizon. So efficient, and so ugly.

I also question why the containers don't include even a tiny hole in the bottom to allow liquids to drain. I suppose it's because they're assumed to be covered at all times so that water would not be a problem. That's wishful thinking. The lack of drainage also makes cleaning them a bit tougher, as you'll have to invert the entire thing to drain it and allow it to dry.

Another thought is that with the covered cans, and the goal being that the truck driver never leaves the cab, how is it even possible to ensure that people don't throw out "forbidden" items, such as paint, solvents, yard waste, etc.?

And the workers who this system will put out of work are most likely having to work extra hard to deploy and deal with all the initial snafus and problems associated with introducing their replacements.

And the replacements aren't cheap. This place sells identical Rubbermaid units for the low, low price of $219.00. (though of course, it's expected the city paid much, much less per unit, but even at half price, that's $109.00 a pop!)

Progress marches on.

Any thoughts or reviews so far from Moline residents?

PS. If you're the real go-getter entrepreneurial type, you could pick up thousands of gently used plastic and metal garbage cans, some nearly new, which residents are now compelled to throw out, and sell them at a steep discount to businesses or individuals either locally or elsewhere. Start a "Garbage Cans R Us" or something. (of course I expect a small slice for the idea)

I've seen many 44 gal. Rubbermaid containers sitting out to be thrown away. They go new for as much as $40 and a lid runs $17. Now you can have as many as you can carry.


At 6/23/2006 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

96 gallons is a lot of trash. Nothing drives that home better than spending a month or more recycling everything that can possibly be recycled.

We found that as long as there's a place that will accept all the recycleables (either a blue can or a drop off), we (as a family) could cut our weekly trash down to less than one 13 gallon kitchen bag per week. Makes a 96 gallon can sound like overkill.

We also lived in a place where the cans had barcodes that were scanned each time they were picked up. We paid an annual fee, plus a fee for each pick up after about 20 pick ups. So there was some financial incentive, albeit very small.


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