Bristol's new trash plan getting ready to roll

New carts are arriving soon, with full rollout in about six weeks

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 2/13/20

Bristol’s new trash pickup plan is go for launch, beginning at the end of the month, with the delivery of the new bins.

“We are rolling out with 65-gallon bins,” said DPW …

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Bristol's new trash plan getting ready to roll

New carts are arriving soon, with full rollout in about six weeks


Bristol’s new trash pickup plan is go for launch, beginning at the end of the month, with the delivery of the new bins.

“We are rolling out with 65-gallon bins,” said DPW director Kevin McBride. “We were initially looking at 95-gallon bins, but the council decided to go with the smaller size. If any resident decides that they need a larger bin at some point, we can make that switch.”

Businesses, which are being required to purchase the bins, may purchase either the smaller or the larger size. All bins come equipped with an RFID tag, so if one were to turn up missing, the department can determine to whom it belongs.

The rollout will actually take place in two phases, with delivery of bins beginning in late February and early March. Carts will be delivered by the supplier and staged behind the Quinta Gamelin center on Asylum Road. From there they will be forklifted to smaller trailers for delivery to homes. The supplier will send along a crew, included in the cost of the cart, to execute the delivery process.

“That’s a process that will take at least two weeks, so please do not begin using the new bins until the start date,” said Mr. McBride.””Notice will be put out in the paper and across social media and the town’s website, when it’s time to actually fill the new bins and leave them curbside. We are hoping to fully implement by the end of March or beginning of April.”

Bin colors will be forest green for trash and blue for recycling. The new barrels are taller than traditional trash cans, but their footprint is about the same. Equipped with wheels, they should be easier to roll to the curb — and with a square profile, less likely to blow down the street in a strong wind.

The total cost of the carts is going to be about $870,000, which will be slightly offset by a grant from the vendor, The Recycling Partnership, a Virginia-based company that provides tools, technical assistance, and grants for municipalities to improve their recycling programs.

“The Recycling Partnership is proud to partner with Bristol to expand residents’ access to curbside recycling,” said Chris Coady, Director of Community Programs for The Recycling Partnership. “We know from experience that nearly every top-performing U.S. recycling program uses carts, which furthers our mission of transitioning our society’s current make-to-waste approach to one that focuses on reuse and recycling.”

It might seem like a lot of money, but the new program will yield long-term savings. The cost of the new automated trucks, about $300,000 each, would have had to have been borne anyway — the automated trucks are not significantly more expensive than the traditional trucks, and the town’s fleet was nearing the end of its lifespan.

According to Town Administrator Steven Contente, personnel savings will begin immediately, and be significant. In addition to the salaries of the employees on trash detail, the town should see a significant reduction in worker’s compensation claims, currently sky-high.

“They are by far the most injured town employees,” said Mr. McBride. “They make about 2,000 stops every day, picking up two or three barrels at each, some as heavy as 50 pounds or more.”

Though the new pickup system is designed to be operated by one town employee, until the kinks are worked out they will be sending trucks out with teams of two on board.

Mr. McBride asks residents to please hold on to existing green and blue recycling bins, as DPW is working with Rhode Island Resource Recovery to develop a collection and recycling program for those bins, once this program is successfully launched. Likewise, he asks that residents please not send existing garbage cans to the landfill. Mr. McBride suggests labeling your garbage can “compost” and using in place of paper yard waste bags. “If there is a need for it, we will look into a plastic recycling plan, similar to the one being developed for the recycling bins, for the trash cans,” he said.

They will also be setting up a hotline for residents’ questions as the implementation date approaches. “We want this program to be a success,” said Mr. McBride. “It will take a little bit of time, but we’ll get there.”

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