Have you ever remembered you didn’t put your trash out for pickup but weren’t sure if the garbage truck has come down your block?
Or come home to find your trash can lids flapping in a heavy wind, their contents strewn about?
Well the City of Wilmington is rolling out nifty new “smart” technology trash carts to every resident in the this week, and the new containers should be a boon to both the folks who pick them up but also for residents as well.
This week’s introduction of the high-tech trash cans makes Wilmington the first municipality in the state to do so, and officials say a major aim is to encourage more recycling with the larger bins.
One of the can’s primary technical perks is providing real-time tracking of collections while the trash trucks are on the street, helping the sanitation department monitor and improve trash collection. Now they can pinpoint where each and every trash can is, whether they are close enough to the curb for drivers, and whether they have been “tipped” or collected.
Each trash can has a proprietary HF (high frequency) GPS chip molded into it, and city trash collection vehicles also have new technology installed. The new carts also come with a double reinforced base to prevent racoons and other varmints from chewing holes in them and lids which prevent rainwater from entering the cans.
The new 65-gallon trash carts (on wheels) are being delivered door-to-door this week. By next Tuesday, all 22,500 single family households and buildings with three or fewer rental units will be equipped.
Recycling bins equipped with SMART technology are also now available. Homeowners are asked to contact Public Works at 302.576.3878 to request their preferred size – 35, 65 or 95-gallon recycling carts.
City residents who oversleep and wonder if their trash crew has already come to their street or who have lost a cart due to high winds or any other reason can check online to see the status via a real-time map of their crew’s whereabouts.
“We saw huge upside to this when we recently learned about this technology,” said Public Works’ Jason Leary.
City residents will be required to use the 65-gallon bin, and the measured container also represents the allowable maximum. “That’s really the whole point,” said Leary. “So now people need to start changing their disposable mindset – everything needs to fit in the new trash cart,” he said.
Interestingly, Wilmington’s SMART trash collection service received its moniker a couple of years ago when Public Works rolled out its Sort Material And Reduce Trash recycling program. The name still works for the new technology.
Leary says Wilmington was proud to be the first municipality in the state to introduce single stream curbside recycling – in 2007. But he says that for the last three to four years, recycling in the city has plateaued, putting a strain on nearby landfills.
Residents may choose to keep their old trash can for storage of wood, mulch, and other garden or household materials. But the city is also offering to haul them away — please mark them as “TRASH” — and has pledged to recycle them.
Leary says one vendor will shred and recycle the material into new trash cans. The other vendor Eco Plastic Products of Delaware, a non-profit recycling facility on Germay Drive in Wilmington, will take cans and turn them into sustainable products like park benches, bicycle racks and picnic tables.
Photos courtesy of Rae’nita Shazier, City of Wilmington Public Works