Patrick Fox, Public Works Director

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
351 North Street
Patrick Fox, Director
v:207-284-6641
f:207-282-8212
pfox@sacomaine.org

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HOME > DEPARTMENTS > PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT

Automated Trash and Recyclables Collection
The City of Saco plans to introduce a new program for collecting trash and recycling at the curb. The program is scheduled to begin in early 2003. Below are answers to most questions about this program and how it will affect you.

If you have questions that aren't answered below, please contact Jetta Antonakos, Recycling Officer, at 282-1552 or by email at jantonakos@sacomaine.org.



A. HOW DOES THE CURRENT PROGRAM WORK?
1. How is garbage currently collected in Saco?
2. Why is the City of Saco changing its program?
3. What is "automated" collection?
4. How do we know that this system can work?
5. What will change with the new system?
6. Timeline
B. HOW WILL THE NEW PROGRAM WORK?
1. Instructions
2. "Overflow" Waste
C. NEW PROGRAM EXCEPTIONS
1. Larger Households
2. Smaller Cans
3. Private Roads, Fire Lanes, Unapproved Sub-divisions
4. Apartment Buildings
5. Narrow Streets
6. Condominiums and Mobile Homes
7. Seasonal Rentals
D. RECYCLING
1. Current Program
2. Why is the City changing the recycling program?
3. What changes are planned for the recycling program?
4. What should I do with my old containers?
5. Timeline

EXCEPTIONS FOR RECYCLING CARTS
6. Private Roads
7. Apartment Buildings
8. Special Needs
9. Space Problems



A. HOW DOES THE CURRENT PROGRAM WORK?
1. How is garbage currently collected in Saco?
The City of Saco contracts with Blow Brothers Inc. (BBI) to collect residential garbage and recycling. Households are allowed to put up to 3 bags or containers of garbage on the street for collection. Each container should hold no more than 32 gallons or 50 lbs.

The trucks that pick up our garbage are operated by three people, a driver and two laborers. The laborers ride on the back of the truck and jump off to collect your trash.

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This shows an example of a collection truck with a mechanical arm next to a cart.
2. Why is the City of Saco changing its program?
The City's goal is to save its taxpayers' money by switching to a more efficient collection system. The new system actually reduces costs for collection. And as we increase recycling rates, we can save even more money by reducing the amount of waste we send for incineration or disposal.

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3. What is "automated" collection?
Automated collection uses trucks equipped with mechanical "lifters." A truck that is "fully" automated uses a mechanical arm operated by a driver who stays inside the cab to lift and dump garbage.

A semi-automated truck requires that a person hooks the cart onto the lifter, but the actual lifting and dumping into the truck is done mechanically.

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Saco city officials meet with the public works department in Goffstown, N.H.
4. How do we know that this system can work?
Across America and Canada, automated trash collection works successfully in cities of all sizes. Recently several staff, council and community members visited the Public Works Department in Goffstown, New Hampshire. The purpose was to learn first-hand about its automated trash collection system. Goffstown closely resembles Saco in size (road miles), population, and trash output. It has realized huge savings in labor and workers compensation claims since switching to automated collection.

Through research the City discovered that communities that have switched to automated collection report the following improvements:

• lower collection costs (fewer drivers, shorter time spent per individual collection)

• cleaner streets (less mess, litter)

• improved sanitation (trash is protected from rodents, dogs and birds)

• safer work conditions, fewer injuries (driver stays in vehicle)

• increased recycling when accompanied by garbage limitations

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Wheeled carts such as the one pictured above will be used for trash collection.
5. What will change with the new system?
The City of Saco will provide a wheeled cart to every eligible household to use for weekly garbage collection. All single family, duplex, and multi-family dwellings (up to and including six units) are eligible.

The cart will remain property of the City and will have serial numbers for address identification. A list will be kept of the serial numbers assignments to each address. This will assist us in locating missing carts.

Each garbage cart holds a capacity of up to 65 gallons and should not be filled to a gross weight of more than 150 pounds. You'll be required to set your household garbage out in the cart instead of using bags or other containers. Instructions on how to use your cart will be delivered with it.

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6. Timeline
The City anticipates introducing the new program in early 2003. Some areas, such as private roads and unapproved sub-divisions, will be phased in gradually. The schedule (hopefully not subject to too much change) is as planned:

December 2, 2002 - Begin delivery and distribution of 19,500 trash and recycling carts



January 6, 2002 - Start automated curbside collection of garbage and recyclables

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B. HOW WILL THE NEW PROGRAM WORK?
1. Instructions

How will I know what to do?

Instructional packets will be included with the carts and will explain what goes in the cart and how to use it. On the day of garbage collection, carts should be rolled out to the street and placed according to the directions in the packet.

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2. "Overflow" Waste

Is all my garbage supposed to fit into the cart?

YES. All the garbage a household places out for collection must fit into the cart provided to you by the City. Any garbage that does not fit into the cart is considered "Overflow" and will not be picked up with regular garbage collection.

What if I have "Overflow"?
Households can dispose their "Overflow" at the City's Transfer Station using a Transfer Station permit, available at Saco City Hall. You are allowed up to 3 cubic yards of bulky items or trash. Transfer Station materials and "Overflow" waste in excess of three cubic yards can be disposed of at the Transfer Station for a fee of $20 per cubic yard.

You can also take up to 3 cubic yards of brush and an unlimited quantity of leaves and grass clippings to the Transfer Station for free. Once your permit limit is met, the fee for brush disposal is $6 per cubic yard.



Limited amounts of overflow waste will be collected following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday "Overflow"
The City has scheduled special collection days for "Overflow" following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. On the first scheduled pickup day immediately following Thanksgiving and Christmas, residents may set out up to two (2) bags of "Overflow" per household unit.

What should I do with my old containers?
You may want to keep your former trash containers to store leaves and yard debris. You have until June 30, 2003 to bring the old trash containers to the transfer station. The City will recycle as many as possible.

What if a cart is damaged?
The carts are under a ten-year warranty and damaged carts should be reported to the City. The City will replace a cart that is damaged through unavoidable circumstances and not due to negligence by the household.

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C. NEW PROGRAM EXCEPTIONS
1. Larger Households
Is a larger household expected to fit its waste into the same container smaller households use? The City will make exceptions to permit a second container to exceptionally large households on a case-by-case basis only after it is determined that maximum recycling has been achieved. This determination will be made a Saco Public Works staff member.

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2. Smaller Cans
Are smaller cans available? Yes. These will be distributed on a case-by-case basis.

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3. Private Roads, Fire Lanes, Unapproved Sub-divisions
How will these changes affect those homes situated on private roads, fire lanes, and unapproved roads? In the interim, until a better solution is found, households in these locations will continue with the current system of placing bags along the roadside. We will begin the transition by starting with a semi-automated truck. At a later date, the City will phase in fully-automated collection.

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4. Apartment Buildings
How will these changes affect apartment buildings?
The City Ordinance 181-1 Definitions defines residential uses for the purpose of provide solid waste collection includes multi-family dwellings of up to and including six units on public ways. City staff will work with apartment owners to minimize the number of carts needed by providing either larger size or fewer carts. This will minimize the space requirements for the owner and the numbers of containers at the curbside for pickup.

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5. Narrow Streets
Will this system work on narrow streets, one-way streets, and those with street parking? YES. The collector will use a semi-automated truck for collection in these locations.

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6. Condominiums and Mobile Homes
The current system will continue in these locations. At its discretion, the City may enter into contracts for the collection of recyclable materials or other solid wastes, with residences such as condominiums and mobile home parks.

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7. Seasonal Rentals
How will program changes affect seasonal rentals?
Seasonal property owners will have the option to purchase additional carts (beyond the allotment of one per residential unit) at the City's cost. Seasonal carts will be color-coded and permitted for use at a fee of $40 per season payable at the renewal of their seasonal rental license. The season will be from the weekend preceding Memorial Day and ending the week after Columbus Day. Garbage placed out in seasonal carts will be collected only during the season and with an active seasonal license.

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D. RECYCLING
1. Current Program
The City of Saco has mandatory recycling. It is collected weekly on the same day as garbage service. All residents are required to separate their household recyclables from their garbage. Everyone is expected to either put out the recycling in City-provided containers, or to take the materials to a drop-box at the City's Transfer Station.

Sometimes the containers do not hold all the items a household sets out for collection.

A truck owned by the City and operated by BBI collects recycling along the same route and day as garbage pickup. BBI sorts the items at the curb into seven different compartments on the truck. If the materials set out for recycling are unacceptable and therefore not collected, the contractor is instructed to leave a note of explanation (food-soiled materials, non-recyclables, etc.)

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2. Why is the City changing the recycling program?
The City of Saco provides curbside recycling not only to comply with the state solid waste management policy, but to reduce the amount of waste sent for incineration.

In 2001, Saco residents recycled 700 tons of materials, and tossed out another 5,500 tons at the curb for incineration. This means that only about 11% of what we put out at the curb was recycling. The 3 bag limit and "Mandatory" recycling have not been enforced, and the amount of waste we are sending for incineration is increasing.

One important way to reduce the amount that we incinerate is to increase recycling participation. This requires more education for residents, and a simple, convenient program. Because the current system of collection and processing recyclables is expensive, inefficient and limited in its capacity, the City is revising it. Citizens have been asking for a way to recycle more items. Changing to a simpler collection system will help accomplish this.

The new program will:
• be simpler for residents because they will only need to sort into two containers.

• increase our ability to collect larger quantities.

• save money as recycling rates increase.

• expand the list of what we can collect.

• make collection more efficient.

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Color-coded carts similar to the example above will be supplied for recycling.
3. What changes are planned for the recycling program?
Saco households will receive color-coded, wheeled carts for their recyclables. The recycling carts will remain property of the City and will have serial numbers for address identification. A list will be kept of the serial numbers assignments to each address. This will assist us in locating missing carts.

The larger, 65-gallon size cart is intended for paper products, which include cardboard, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes and junk mail. It will probably be blue.

The smaller, 35-gallon cart is intended to hold commingled containers, which include glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and jugs, and metal cans. It will be a different color than the trash or fiber cart. Containers may be set out for weekly collection.

It saves time and money households wait until a container is nearly full or at least half full before setting out for pickup. Since our goal is to increase recycling, we encourage residents to use their judgment and do what works best for them.

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4. What should I do with my old containers?
You can keep your old recycle containers to use for inside recycling collection or you can drop them off at the Saco's Public Works Department at 351 North Street. The City will offer them to the Saco schools for classroom recycling.

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5. Timeline
The City anticipates distributing recycling carts in December, 2002 and beginning the program in January, 2003.

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EXCEPTIONS FOR RECYCLING CARTS
1. Private Roads
How will these changes affect those homes situated on private roads, fire lanes, and unapproved roads? In the interim, until a better solution is found, households in these locations will be given the option to either receive a City-provided cart or to continue with the current system. We will begin the transition by starting with a semi-automated truck. At a later date, the City will phase in fully-automated collection.

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2. Apartment Buildings
How will these changes affect apartment buildings?
City staff will work with apartment owners to minimize the number of carts needed by providing either larger size or fewer carts. This will minimize the space requirements for the owner and the numbers of containers at the curbside for pickup.

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3. Special Needs
The City is prepared to accommodate the special needs of citizens on a case-by-case basis. Certain exceptions will be made to continue with current system.

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4. Space Problems
If there is a space problem, a household can continue to use their old bins instead of carts. The City prefers that every household use the carts because it eventually hopes to fully automate its collection system. In the interim, until a better solution is found, households with space restrictions will be given the option to either receive a City-provided cart or to continue with the current system.

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