Trash days could turn over

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nearly 11,000 people could be affected by a Lewisburg City Council decision next week when it's asked to separate about 4,300 households into north and south garbage collection zones divided by East and West Commerce Streets.

Trash days may be different next year when garbage would be collected only once a week, but the expansion of the curbside recyclable collection service to all of Lewisburg is seen as a way to maintain collections twice a week, although only one will be for garbage.

It's a recommendation from Public Works leaders and the Curbside Recycling Committee formed by the City Council. Barbara Woods, chairwoman of the volunteer committee, is to deliver the recommendation during the Council's meeting in City Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Expanding the collection of recyclable materials city-wide is prompting the proposal.

Collection of recyclable paper, plastic and metal (but no glass) started last spring in the southwest quadrant of Lewisburg. That service area is in two garbage collection routes, City Manager Eddie Fuller said. Those routes have been developed over the decades as the city's grown. The could be updated with the proposal to be considered by the Council.

"We're talking about people on the north side of East and West Commerce Streets having garbage collection on Tuesday and recyclables collected on Thursday," Fuller said.

"If you live on the south side of Commerce Street, you'll have garbage collected on Wednesday and recyclables on Friday," Fuller said.

"We don't do residential collections on Wednesday now," he said.

Beyond the planned expansion of recyclables' collection, one of the reasons to change collection days are the various national holidays.

"Most holidays are on a Monday," the city manager noted. "But Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday. We could skip a Thursday collection of recyclables one week, but we couldn't skip garbage collection."

Household garbage is now collected twice a week on various routes.

"Normally, we have two trucks running ... and sometimes, they cross (Commerce Street) and serve the south side of Commerce Street," Fuller said.

Lewisburg will continue to use the same garbage trucks for collection of recyclables, he said.

Recyclable paper, plastic and metals are transferred to trucks taking them to a business in Nashville that sorts and bales the materials so they can be sold.

More collection carts must be purchased to expand the recycling program.

About 3,000 carts must be bought, but a state grant of $25,000 is helping and the city budgeted $70,000 for the purchase when the spending plan was adopted last summer, Fuller said.

The cost might actually be $95,000, but the difference is seen as marginal and wouold be dwarfed if the state makes another decision on Cedar Ridge Landfill.

Waste Management Inc. has asked the Tennessee Department of Environment to permit expansion of the landfill and if that's granted, then Lewisburg will be allowed to dump trash at Cedar Ridge at no charge, according to an agreement between the city and Waste Management when the expansion issuewas before the Council.

Now that the Council permitted Waste management to resume its uest for an environmental permit to expand Cedar Ridge, free dumping might release some $130,000 from the city's spending plan.

That relief will help fund the expansion of the recycling program.

"Wed have extra money to pay for the carts," Fuller said.

The city manager acknowledged there could be complaints from some residents if garbage collection days are changed.

"We'll still get twice a week pickup, but it would be garbage one day and recyclables the other," he said.

The Curbside Recycling Committee would help develop and implement an extensive public information campaign to familiarize residents of the new schedules, he said. That is, if the Council approves the plan.