The Columbia City Council Discussed a New Way to Pick Up Trash

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is voting Monday on a new way for residents to put out their trash. This plan would replace manual trash collection vehicles with automated vehicles. If it is passed, the rolling carts will begin for some areas in January 2013 and last for 6 months. During that time, they will collect customer or staff opinions about the program.

Ideally, they would like 600 participants, 100 from each ward, to participate in the program. So far, 107 people have volunteered. However, Barbara Hoppe says that proposition is not acceptable. She said this pilot, if passed, needs to be implemented in a concentrated area for everyone in that neighborhood. In the last year, 80 percent of the people she has talked to about the program have had a negative view.

The major concern deals with safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, trash collectors have the 7th most dangerous job in the United States. There is a fatality rate of 29.8 per 100,000 workers.

This new plan would have a one time cost of $5,860,00 to implement the program. It would include 10 new collection vehicles and 44,000 roll carts.

Some advantages to having roll carts include:


  • Costs closely related to the amount of trash placed at the curb
  • Less physical demand on collectors
  • Increase in recycling quantities


Some disadvantages include:


  • Roll carts limiting the amount of waste that can be discarded at one time
  • Roll carts remaining at the curb after collection
  • Bulky items can't be collected with carts, requiring special collection


Nearly 1,900 people responded to a survey conducted last year and were pretty torn about roll carts possibly improving trash collection. Jefferson City and Fulton both use roll carts.

Residents could purchase 48, 64, or 96 gallon carts. But some residents don't want to the new carts because they say it could be a waste of time and resources.