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  • Last modified 112 days ago (May 29, 2019)

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Making short work of trash

Staff writer

David Lockwood made quick work of picking up city trash in Hillsboro last Thursday.

The city’s new $319,406 automated trash truck meant not having to get out of the cab, pick up a trash can, dump it into the truck, and return it to the curb.

The truck has an arm on the right that reaches out for a trash polycart, picks it up, and pours the trash into the top of the truck, then sets the polycart back down.

The truck arrived about a month ago and went into use last week, city administrator Larry Paine said.

Lockwood, who operated automated trash trucks when he lived in Flagstaff, said that once the entire city had new polycarts to use, residential trash pickup could be done in a single day.

For residential pickups, the truck requires a specific type of polycart.

Commercial trash pickup will be done on a second day, with commercial dumpsters loaded into a bay at the back of the truck as is already done with the old truck.

The same truck soon will be used for recycling, Paine said.

“In a week or two we’re going to start sending out recycle carts for everybody to work with,” Paine said.

The old truck will be kept as a backup, Lockwood said.

The old trash truck is still being used for commercial trash collection until Lockwood is more familiar with Hillsboro streets, Paine said.

Pickup schedules for both trash and recycling will be rewritten because of less time needed to do the job, Paine said. Recycling will be picked up every two weeks and trash every week.

Before city council members voted to buy the new truck, Paine went to see how similar trucks work for Newton. Newton picks up 900 customers in a day, he said.

“We’ve got 900 customers we pick up in a week,” Paine said.

The city bought new polycarts that work with the new trash truck for $128,193. New polycarts will be provided to customers at no cost. Old polycarts were rented to customers for $1.50 a month.

The old carts are being collected by the city.

“The very best of them we’ll offer for sale,” Paine said. “They will not be able to use them for trash.”

Hillsboro charges $12.75 a month for trash pickup and $2.53 a month for recycling, but the recycling fee will soon be eliminated.

Marion’s trash and recycling routes take five days a week.

Two workers using a truck without an automated arm and top-loading bay collect residential trash Mondays and Tuesdays, commercial trash Wednesdays, and recycling Thursdays and Fridays.

When there is extra refuse to pick up, such as after a holiday weekend, a third worker is called to help, city administrator Roger Holter said.

“We have a dedicated two-man crew,” Holter said. “Only when it’s extremely heavy do we need a three-man crew. When the driver starts the route, he makes that call.”

Marion charges $10.50 a month for trash pickup.

Holter said Marion earlier looked at potential benefits of having a truck similar to Hillsboro’s but decided that buying a similar truck and new polycarts would not yield enough return on the investment to make it worthwhile.

“It would almost be a 10-year payback,” Holter said.

Last modified May 29, 2019

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