A retired environmental official says he has concerns about Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s plan to have automated trash collection.
WHAV environmental consultant Gerald McCall said he informally surveyed several communities that use the so-called “toters.” He revealed his findings last night on WHAV’s Open Mike Show.
“Number one was the impact on the elderly. For example, a 66-gallon bucket…I couldn’t push it out to the curbside,” he said. Some communities, he added, reduce the size of the containers to half as much to assist the elderly with the weight. McCall, who formerly worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said another problem is the size of the collection trucks that may use enough of the road to prevent fire vehicles from passing. Fiorentini has said he may make smaller containers an option for the elderly and won’t allow collection trucks on narrow streets.
While the city will initially provide free containers, McCall further worries about the costs to residents when it comes time to replace them.
“They’re almost made out of fiberglass with wheels on them. They’re very, very expensive.”
Fiorentini cites benefits to automated pickup, including reduced waste and litter, as well as saving $300,000 to $400,000 per year, or between $2.1 and $2.8 million dollars over the lifetime of the contract.