Borough trash collection to be fully automated soon

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All borough residents will soon have grey and garnet barrels for automated trash and recycling collection. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Residents on every borough trash and recycling route will receive new carts designed for automated collection during the coming fiscal year, thanks to a lease-purchase agreement the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved last week.

“We’re able to spread out the payments and equip everybody,” said Sheila Baummer, solid waste and recycling coordinator. “We’ve really advanced things.”

The agreement allows for the purchase of nearly 8,000 carts for about 4,800 households, Baummer said. They will be financed at about 3 percent interest over five years for a total cost exceeding $389,000.

Sets of carts will be distributed to residents on Monday, Wednesday and Friday pickup routes who do not have either the gray trash bin or the red recycling bin, Baummer said.

Due, in part, to the sudden availability of a federal grant, all residents on Tuesday and Thursday routes have had the new recycling bins since April. The lease-purchase agreement will buy them trash bins to complete their sets, Baummer said.

Baummer said she hoped the carts would be delivered late next month, but she has not received confirmation from the company that makes them, Michigan-based Cascade Engineering.

“For now, we’re still waiting to hear the final delivery date,” Baummer said.

The borough purchased enough carts for 45 percent of the borough two years ago. The Board of Finance last year committed to funding that would provide 50 percent of the borough with automated carts this budget year, and 80 percent in the budget year that begins next month.

If not for the grant money and lease-purchase agreement, the remaining 20 percent would have had to wait until July 2013, at the earliest, for their carts.

Many residents have grown impatient waiting for the new 64- or 96-gallon bins, which hold more trash and recyclables than the ones they currently use.

The public works department gets calls daily from people asking when their new bins are coming, Baummer said.

The carts are designed to be lifted by a robotic arm, reducing the manpower needed to tip the waste into the trucks.

Although they will receive the new carts, some routes will never receive automated collection because of streets that are too narrow and winding for the robotic arm.

The borough is also expecting a new semi-automated recycling truck next month, a $294,000 expenditure that will also be leased over several years.

The truck gives workers the option to tip trash in manually in cases where space prevents them from using the arm. The current automated recycling truck will then be used to collect garbage on routes that are now being collected manually, Baummer said.

The borough board last week also approved a one-year contract to take recyclables to United Recycling of Shelton beginning in November, when the borough’s contract with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority expires.

The borough did not receive a recycling rebate last year from CRRA, and does not expect one this year, while the Shelton company is promising to pay $16.50 per ton, which should earn the borough $33,000, according to Baummer’s tonnage figures.