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Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
The Sun

Automated garbage and recyclables collection is about to begin


SUN CITY CENTER – Trash collection in the community is about to change, and the first phase will begin next week.

On Monday residents will begin receiving 35-gallon rolling receptacles at their curbs – a gray cart for garbage and a blue one for recyclables – to enable collection truck drivers to empty them mechanically as of Jan. 15.

The automated process will save taxpayers about $8 million annually and slightly reduce yearly solid waste collection and disposal assessments, said Kim Byer, solid waste collection manager. The cost of the carts is included.

“The county views this as a cleaner, greener and safer collection system,” she said, while recognizing it will be an adjustment for seniors who now place their garbage at the curb in everything from individual plastic bags to cans of assorted sizes. Under the automated process residents must use the new carts because they’ll be lifted and dumped by a mechanical arm operated by the driver of each truck. There will be no helpers to assist him.

Automated pick-up is already successfully being used throughout the county, albeit with much larger receptacles – a 95-gallon, gray cart for garbage and 65-gallon, blue cart for recyclables.

“To accommodate Sun City Center and Kings Point officials’ concerns about the size of these carts, the county agreed to distribute much smaller ones and wait until January to distribute them (to accommodate seasonal residents),” Byer said. “The new carts should be easy for most residents to push or pull to the curb, but anyone who is physically unable to do so can apply for special service, provided their doctor signs and returns the application, which is available online or through the mail.”

Instructions, service provider information and pick-up days will be included with the carts as they are distributed. Current collection methods will be used through Saturday, Jan. 11, and Progressive Waste Solutions will begin automated pick-up the following Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Service will continue to include two weekly garbage pickups, one recycling collection and one yard-waste collection. Carts must be out at the curb by 6 a.m.

Residents are advised to be careful not to block sidewalks or place their carts too close to their mailboxes.

Since yard-waste collection does not lend itself to automated collection, residents must continue to use their own containers and follow county-recommended procedures for pick-up.

Between Jan. 15 and March 15, residents who would like larger carts can change out the smaller ones at no charge. And through the end of the month, they can put out their old trash cans with a note on them any Saturday for pick-up.

“The county is confident Sun City Center residents will see the benefits of this new collection system,” said Byer. “And if they have any problems, they’re welcome to give us a call.”

For additional information, concerns or a special disability collection application, call the Hillsborough County Solid Waste Department at (813) 272-5680.