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Automated Trucks, Pay-as-You-Throw Trash Service and Curbside Recycling

(Sept. 30, 2009) ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Solid Waste Services, the Municipality of Anchorage trash collection utility, is expanding its residential automated collection program from 3,400 to more than 7,000 customers next week.

Automated collections customers will receive utility-provided roll carts for trash and recycling. The rate structure is called "Pay-as-You-Throw" (PAYT) with the amount customers pay proportionate to their level of trash service.  Most customers have chosen either a 48-gallon weekly service ($19.10/month) or 64-gallon weekly service ($26.56/month). All customers also receive every-other-week collection of a 96-gallon recycling cart.

"The initial move to automated trash collections was to modernize our vehicle fleet, reduce worker injuries and make trash routes more efficient," said Brian Vanderwood, SWS collection foreman.  "The Municipality is seizing the opportunity of automated collections to provide better service for our customers with variable rates and recycling. The roll carts used by the automated trucks will also make our neighborhoods look better as they will replace the piles of cans, bags and loose trash that are currently set out at the curb."

  • Automated trucks are more efficient and can pick up 710 stops per day while the routes served by manual collections pick up 440 stops per day.
  • Automated trucks almost completely eliminate drivers getting out of the truck and lifting waste, thereby reducing the potential for injury and workers compensation
  • When fully implemented, the program will employ the same number of drivers but will provide more service to customers - picking up both trash and recycling at the curb.
  • Customers are able to choose the level of service they need and pay accordingly. Seventy-four percent of our customers responded to choose their cart size; 64% chose a 48-gallon trash cart and 17% of those customers chose every-other-week service, thus reducing their monthly SWS bills.
  • One-third of SWS customers received automated service last fall. These customers are recycling an average of 22% of their waste stream.
Providing curbside recycling as part of the PAYT service provides residents with another option to reduce their trash volumes and monthly bills. Acceptable recyclables to be placed in the recycling carts include seven categories of recyclables including mixed paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, #1 PETE plastic bottles and #2 HDPE plastic jugs.
Municipal recycling coordinators remind residents that it is important to "Recycle it Right" and include only acceptable materials in their recycling carts to keep program costs down.

Customers will be able to change the size of their trash roll-cart one time for free during the first six months of service; however, SWS suggests customers try out their cart for a month before making a change.

More information on the program can be found at www.muni.org/sws

The Solid Waste Services refuse collection utility provides residential waste collection services to approximately 12,500 Anchorage households.

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