Massachusetts city may invest in mini trash truck to clean parks

Dive Brief:

  • City officials in Chicopee, MA are intrigued but skeptical by the idea of purchasing a small automated collection truck to service city parks, as reported by MassLive.
  • The Chicopee City Council deferred its decision on the $112,000 purchase to a finance committee for further discussion. A similar proposal was rejected about four years ago.
  • Employees currently lift barrels over their heads to get waste and recycling into the existing trucks. Though some have questioned why standard household carts couldn't be used instead and pulled out to the curb for collection by the city's existing fleet.

Dive Insight:

This discussion is part of a larger update to the city's sanitation system that involves a pay-as-you-throw program and the purchase of a new $540,000 automated collection truck. The city also plans to lease three more trucks this month. The details behind these decisions involve specifications at a local landfill, though this is part of a larger shift to automated collection that has been seen in many other municipalities.

Research has shown that visitors to national parks have a hard time managing their waste and this can be even worse in local parks. In many areas, parks have limited options for visitors to dispose or recycle their waste, which can lead to littering and other issues. Where the bins do exist they can easily be filled to the point of overflowing if not collected frequently enough even in a small city such as Chicopee.

If this new mini collection truck can help employees keep up on bins and avoid potential injuries in the process, it could be beneficial to the city. As shown by recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of injuries for workers in waste collection remain higher than the national average and unnecessary lifting is one of many causes behind that figure.

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer
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