Good-bye, blue bags.
Hello, blue bins.
The city of Lakewood is expected to begin a “structured rollout” of its new refuse and recycling program, starting as soon as this summer.
City officials are considering a move that would switch the city’s recycling collection to an automated process, complete with new trucks and large blue bins.
City council’s public works committee continued its discussion on the topic at its meeting on Monday night.
The city could begin distributing the first 6,000 bins — out of a total 15,000 — this summer.
But the $1.5 million project will first need council’s approval.
In an effort to streamline waste collection — and save money in the long run — city officials are eyeing a plan to begin distributing plastic recycling containers to residents.
But, if approved, the plan would be implemented in phases.
The proposal would cost the city an estimated $53 for each of the 18,000 containers. The city would also need at least two additional large trucks, at about $250,000 each.
However, city officials have said the move could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars each year — through saved labor costs and fewer workers’ compensation claims as well as income from the recycled materials.
In a nutshell, the city receives money for recycled materials and pays to send stuff to a landfill.
“The whole premise is that we actually shift more from garbage to recycling,” Mayor Michael Summers said last year. “We can go from 60 percent of residents recycling and take that participation higher — just chuck it in the blue container and take it out. No more messing with the blue bags."
Joe Beno, the city’s public works director, said the city will rollout the new program in three phases.
However, he added that many of the streets will be in Ward 1 on the west side of the city, because that side of town “already (has) parking restrictions.”
Clifton Boulevard and Lake Avenue are also obvious streets to begin with, he added.
“Each year, we will roll out (the program) to 1,000 houses per collection day,” added Beno. “That would cover the whole city within three years.”
The city will scale back from four collection routes to three, and cut at least one position through attrition to help reduce costs.
With a parking ban in place, Beno said the cost savings could be as high as $180,000; however, without a parking ban, the labor savings would be around $50,000.
Other details, including whether businesses will participate, haven’t been ironed out.
“I want to be efficient, but I want to realize real efficiency,” said Ward 1 councilman David Anderson, who isn’t on the committee, but attended the meeting to learn more about the proposal.
Part of the pilot phase plan is to spread the pickup around the city with various levels of pick-up “difficulty” on different streets.
“This is challenging because this is a big topic and there are lots of things to discuss here,” said Shawn Juris, Ward 3 councilman and chairman of the public works committee.