Some politicians promise to put a chicken in every pot. Nashville’s mayor wants to put a garbage can in every driveway.
One of the many items in Mayor Bill Purcell’s $237 million laundry list of capital improvements is $2 million for “uniform residential garbage containers.” What this means in plain English is that the days of buying your own garbage can at Home Depot are over.
The funding would buy Nashville 37,000 96-gallon plastic garbage cans, each of which would be assigned to a home in Nashville’s urban services district. Households assigned these “rolling units,” as Purcell enthusiastically calls them, will have to use them if they want their garbage collected.
“Right now, when our collection crews go out, their jobs are made difficult because everyone puts their garbage in something different,” says Chase Anderson, who heads Metro’s waste management division. “Some garbage cans don’t have lids, and rodents and cats get into them overnight, and the trash is strewn all over the place by the morning. We even have some people who have built their own concrete garbage cans, and collectors have to reach into them to pull out the trash. This will not only make collection more efficient, it will make it safer and help keep our neighborhoods cleaner.
In addition, he says, “I think everyone will like having a nice new cart with a lid that looks nice rather than the garbage can that they presently have.”
With the new garbage containers, Metro would begin a transition from the labor-intensive system that has garbage collectors lifting and dumping the contents of cans into trucks to a semi-automatic system in which they attach the cans to an automated arm on the truck. For cleanliness and liability reasons, many cities have long since gone to such a system.
The 37,000 garbage cans would serve only about a third of Nashville’s urban services districtthose whose garbage is collected by Metro employees. Metro-hired private carriers serve the other 90,000 homes in the urban core, but they too are expected to have a similar new system in place by 2004.
The capital improvements budget includes funding for other waste-related efforts as well, namely $5.5 million to buy 127,000 96-gallon recycling carts. The carts would be assigned to every household in the urban services district for recyclable material such as magazines, newspapers, cardboard and aluminum. “The bins that Nashville used to have weren’t really large enough, and they had problems in that people would put them out overnight, and the wind would blow newspapers down the street,” Anderson says.
Another $1.9 million is being proposed to buy 13 new recycling trucks, and $1.2 million to buy nine new garbage trucks.
Anderson cautions that the recycling improvements are dependent on Metro Council approval of Purcell’s plan to replace downtown’s thermal plant with a new natural gas or alternative fuel facility. The Metro Council is expected to act on the controversial legislation sometime during the next four weeks.
It’s worth noting that while there is no real reason why the perpetuation of thermal would inhibit the city from reinstituting curbside recycling, that’s not on the table. Perhaps as a bit of an incentive for the council to approve Purcell’s proposed elimination of the trash-burning thermal plant, the mayor has made it clear that the beefed-up recycling proposals are contingent on thermal’s demise.
“If the plan to get rid of thermal is approved, we may be collecting recycled material as early as January,” Anderson says. “If the plan to get rid of thermal is not approved, then we will not have curbside recycling.”
Meanwhile, what should you do with your old garbage can? “You can turn it into a composting bin,” Anderson suggests. “You can use it to store material. Or you can use it to store dog food. That’s what I do.”
The hypocrisy on both sides of this kerfuffle is astounding.
fork, you sound as if you don't know what the additional interventions Head Start brings…
Hmm... somebody creates a screen name just to make a political attack on Will Pinkston?…
They're private schools, publicly funded.
There is no substantive difference between the Congressman's and the Senators's statements on this issue…