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Best Practices in Collection Systems for Solid Waste

  • • Conduct an in-depth survey of the specific community to be serviced concerning all the fixed and variable factors as well as the distance to disposal in order to establish a plan for how best to collect solid waste. After a reasonable period of time, re-evaluate the plan and its implementation to make readjustments where necessary to be more cost-efficient and produce the highest level of service.
  • • In residential areas typically only allow the use of 30-gallon weatherproof cans of metal or plastic with tight sealing lids for temporary storage and removal purposes, or tightly tied plastic bags filled with the solid waste and placed at the curb or in the alley at the time of collection. Never allow the use of 55-gallon drums, which may be too heavy for the worker to lift without injury, or cardboard boxes which may break through from wet solid waste.
  • • If dumpsters are used in some areas, they must be of such size and specifications that the equipment being used to collect the solid waste can lift it and drop the contents into a compactor truck. The lids on the dumpsters must fit securely and they must be kept clean as well as the area around the dumpster where possible leakage can attract insects and rodents.
  • • Communities may want to consider solid waste separation by the public prior to the collection by placing all recyclables in special containers to be picked up by a special truck, thereby reducing the amount of solid waste being disposed of in landfills or through incinerators.
  • • Bulky solid waste should be put out separately for special trucks to remove.
  • • Hazardous solid wastes should be removed to specific areas for disposal by the citizenry and not mixed in with the non-hazardous solid waste.
  • • In some communities, garbage is removed separately twice a week and all other solid wastes are removed once a week by different collection vehicles. In any case, where there is organic material present in the non-hazardous solid waste, the removal must be at least twice a week to avoid the growth and distribution of fly infestations.
  • • In areas where there are sufficient numbers of homes close together, it is most efficient to collect solid wastes at the curb or in the alley. This would involve specific collection days. Where there are insufficient numbers of homes that are close together, then it may be better to have the citizen bring the solid waste to an off-site collection point where it will be placed in dumpsters and removed on a frequent schedule which will be made available to the individuals. These areas need to be closely watched to make sure that the areas are kept clean, the dumpster lids are kept down, any drainage is promptly cleaned up, and hazardous solid waste is not placed with the non-hazardous solid waste.
  • • Preventive maintenance programs should include inspection and servicing of all parts of the vehicle being used for transportation of the solid waste every thousand miles or every 30 days by highly competent mechanics. Accumulate written reports of types of breakdowns and other service problems and evaluate them periodically to enhance the preventive maintenance program.
  • • Establish a program for the purchase of new equipment on a periodic basis before the old equipment breaks down and becomes very costly to operate. Allow for those cases where a piece of equipment may be defective and has to be replaced before the usual schedule.
  • • In busy communities, collect solid waste on one side of the street one day and on the other side of the street the other day. Erect signs that ban parking on the side of the street where collection will be done on the day of collection. Enforce the ban by asking local law enforcement to hand out tickets if the instructions are not obeyed. In quieter communities, especially if the streets are fairly narrow, collect solid waste on both sides of the street at the same time to be more efficient and cost the community less money.
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