(Posted June 20, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The village of West Jefferson is moving to automated trash collection. The transition likely will take place early next year.
The switch comes with village council’s June 17 approval of a new five-year contract with Waste Management of Ohio for trash and recycling collection.
Waste Management has provided collection services to West Jefferson for 15 years. Currently, the company’s crews manually dump the contents of residents’ personal trash cans into frontloader trucks.
With the switch, the company will issue a 96-gallon, wheeled trash cart to each residence. Automated sideloader trucks, operated by a single crewman from inside the truck, will pick up the trash cans from the curb using a mechanical arm with a claw.
Automated trash collection means less wind-blown litter, trash receptacles that keep pests out, a more uniform look around town on collection day, and less pollution, thanks to eco-friendly trucks that run on compressed gas, said John Mitchell, West Jefferson’s public service director.
Other benefits, according to literature from Waste Management, are decreased risk of injury to trash workers, reduced operational and labor costs which keeps service rates competitive, and reduced traffic as more efficient service means fewer trucks on the road and less drive time.
Residents will no longer be permitted to use their own trash cans. The new trash carts will be identical to the recycling carts already in use in the village. The only difference will be the color of the lids: green for trash and yellow for recycling.
Residents who are elderly or disabled will have the option to request a 64-gallon cart. Residents who need more than one cart for trash can rent additional carts for $5 each per month.
Melinda Antell with Waste Management said it will take several months to get the automated service up and running in West Jefferson. The turn-around time on new sideloader trucks is about six months, she said, after which training is required. She predicts the changeover will take place in the spring. Until then, the current manual trash pick-up system will stay in place.
The village will be increasing trash and recycling collection rates to correspond with the new Waste Management contract. Currently, residents pay about $17 per month.
“The expectation is that it will go to $20 per month, or maybe less,” Mitchell said. The village last raised rates six years ago.
Council will vote on the exact rate change before the new contract goes into effect on Aug. 1.
With the new contract, recycling services stay the same. Bulk pick-up remains unlimited but changes from weekly to monthly.
Starting next month, the village’s crews will do curbside chipping for tree branches, brush and shrubs. The service will be offered the first Monday of each month.