New recycling contract: Questions | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New recycling contract: Questions

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM

BIGGER BINS: Photo shows recycling container of size used now against proposed rolling cart.
  • BIGGER BINS: Photo shows recycling container of size used now against proposed rolling cart.
The Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that the Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District has approved a new 10-year waste recycling contract with Waste Management. Let me give you another spin on this wondrous news, which is a windfall for Waste Management (which is, naturally, the idea).

Your service would be cut in half — from weekly to every two weeks — and your rates would go up by 56 cents a month. Chump change to you, but not to Waste Management. With 81,000 customers, they'll be raking in an additional $544,000 a year FOR HALF THE NUMBER OF PICKUPS. And the pickups will cost them far less. They'll no longer need a man on the truck to manually sort and dump individual recycling bins. (The D-G article said customers now sort items. Not on my street in Little Rock; everything goes in the same bin.)

Instead of relying on manual sorting, the trucks will be automated with a mechanical arm to lift and dump the new 65-gallon monster containers. Far less labor, far faster pickups, far fewer people and trucks needed to run routes.

I don't know about you, but I don't have room for another giant rolling bin in my garage. The photo here shows a 65-gallon container against a container of the size currently used in Little Rock.

The deal still must be approved by Little Rock and North Little Rock governments. But they generally are friendly to Waste Management. I'd like to see a true analysis of what the ccompany plans to clear annually in new profits after buying bins, a few new trucks and some recycling plant equipment.

PS — Will the garbage police still be looking for excuses not to take cardboard unless it has been broken down into bite-sized nuggets and neatly stacked?

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