Consultant Worries About Impact of Mayor’s Trash Plan

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.

One thought on “Consultant Worries About Impact of Mayor’s Trash Plan

  1. We used them in Florida. The barrels do not last long, and if they are predominantly fiberglass, will get brittle in the cold. So, being squeezed by the lifting armature and hoisted up into the truck, they develop stress lines quickly. The first thing to go is the hinged lid.

    Some community have specific, mandatory brands required for the inevitable replacements – too wide or the wrong height and the lift mechanism can’t get the trash into the truck. If the barrel is facing the street with the hinged lid facing the wrong way, the driver must turn the barrel (if you’re lucky) or will bypass your barrel entirely that week.

    The ones in neighboring community Boynton Beach run well over $100 to replace and can not brought with you if you relocate to a new community – besides the varying size of the barrels dependent on the trash truck, the barrels are also too cumbersome for manned crews to dump.

    On a windy day, you’d best hope there are no loose papers on top of the trash in the barrel. And if you’ve never tried wheel a 65 gallon barrel in the rain, or down a textured walkway, good luck in the snow. And if the barrel is tipped over by the truck, an elderly or disabled citizen is going to be in trouble.

    It’s a great idea, if you own the trash pick up trucks, the trash barrel manufacturer, or a hardware store. DPW guys should do very well with the overtime cleaning up the loose trash blowing around and dumped garbage in the empty lots. I’m just not sure why Mayor Fiorentini is so hellbent to make Haverhill look like downtown Lawrence.