The King's Marquee

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Friday, September 21, 2007

West Hartford: Automated Trash Collection Doomsday approaches!

Alas, this is the final week for West Hartfordites to be able to load up their front lawn with lots extra trash before we convert to the new Automated Trash Collection process set to begin on October 1st. If you have a dozen questions about the process - the link above answers many of them.

My take on the policy is very mixed, but I think I'm slightly leaning toward being disappointed by the change.

On one hand, if this new automated trash policy reduces cost to the town and on taxpayers than I can see the need to move to automation as a fiscal strategy to reduce expenses (and I have no information that we are going to see cost savings by the projected numbers, so if you have this information please comment below or provide a link).

But on the other hand, I'm disappointed that I won't be able to put a lot of the "extras" out on my lawn that don't normally fit into a regular 28 gallon trash barrel or the new 95 gallon trash barrel (to be provided) which the garbage men today have no qualms about picking up and throwing in the truck. And moreover, during holidays and when we have events, our garbage increases 10 fold - I hope that I can cram all of my trash into the barrell provided. I have no intention of pestering my neighbors to add to theirs as Dana Hallenbeck suggests you do if you have days where trash doesn't fit into your barrel.

One of the points that irks me is that some families are larger than others and therefore have more trash per week than others. People with infants and children will clearly have more trash then say two-adult families, and people with five family members will have more trash than those with only three persons in residence. The 95 gallon barrel is a one size fits all solution that is obviously impractical.

Further, West Hartford's solution for days that you have more trash than you can fit in your barrel is to purchase another barrel at $85 a year. Since we pay-mega taxes in West Hartford, you'd think the town would and should cover the cost of the additional barrel if you have the need. Obviously, the town shouldn't pay for everyone to have two 95 gallon barrels but there could be some type of program to address the discrepancy of volume.

I think the biggest disappointment with regard to the new trash policy is that we can no longer take our fallen tree limbs, or shrub clippings - cut them up, and bundle them along side our barrels for pick up. The town expects you to cut them up small enough to be placed in the 95 gallon barrel along with the rest of your trash.

So there we have it. Until we use our barrel for at least a month, we won't be able to fully evaluate the impact. So until then, the jury is out. In the meantime, West Hartfordites should be seen in a frenzy this weekend preparing for the Fall clean out, and their last opportunity to unload their junk for free.

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