Trash bin on the curb

The City of Gainesville will implement a new program that could save some residential trash customers between $72-$90 a year in fees.

The City Commission on Thursday approved the $44,000 cart evaluation program, which is aimed at helping Gainesville residents “right-size” their garbage containers.

“This program came out of a discussion of some equity issues in the community,” said Mike Heimbach, a sustainability manager with the city. “Some lower-income neighbors may have carts that are bigger than what they need.”

The program will send employees into the field four weeks in a row to examine how fully people are utilizing the large (95 gallon) and medium (65 gallon) sized garbage cart, Heimbach said in a telephone interview with Mainstreet Daily News.

About 16,000 of the city’s 28,000 residential trash customers use the large or medium sized carts.

Any time during the four-week period that a large or medium cart is filled to less than 80 percent, the evaluation team will leave a hangtag on the cart suggesting the customer consider switching to a lower cart size.

Moving from a large to a medium cart would save customers $7.50 a month or $90 a year, while moving from a medium cart to a small cart (35 gallon) would save customers $6 a month or $72 a year.

Normally, the city charges $14.25 to change cart sizes, but it will waive that fee for any customers who get a hangtag on their cart.

Heimbach said the city will wait until the first part of 2022 to initiate the cart size survey. They don’t want to complete the evaluation during the holiday season because cart utilization during holiday vacations and holiday festivities does not reflect normal usage.

The city won’t benefit financially from customers switching to smaller carts, but Heimbach said smaller carts may in turn encourage more recycling.

“[The evaluation program] is about fairness and equity,” Heimbach said. “It’s just good government.”

Mainstreet Daily News Correspondent

Camille Broadway is freelance writer and editor. She has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and journalism education. Bad speller. Baseball fan. OG sci-fi nerd. She's always looking for good story ideas.

(7) comments

Guest

What happens to the old, larger carts? Are they reused or recycled, or do they become trash themselves and end up in our landfills?

Guest

Tryin to steal my garbage freedoms!

Guest

Everyone knows that customers will always go with the smaller trash cart to save money and that results in over flow trash carts or Contaminated recycling bins. This program is not Sustainable just drive through Alachua County on Mondays and Tuesday.

Guest

It’s called nosy government.

Guest

my thoughts as well. it will also result in less revenue for a city that is already going bankrupt. Nice idea, but not sure it will result in the actions they hope for. People who don't recycle, DON"T RECYCLE. More is needed to change behavior.

Guest

The City may want to check its math. If a resident downsizes a 96 gal cart that is 80% full, would need a 76 gal cart to avoid an overflow not the next smaller 64 gal cart. If a resident downsizes a 64 gal cart that is 80% full they would need a 51 gal cart to avoid an overflow not the next smaller cart is a 35gal cart. The criteria should be 50% full or less to consider reduction. Also, how does this program help minority and low income neighbors who have overfilled carts because they cannot afford to upsize to the cart they need. The options are having larger carts, lower collection costs and cleaner NE, SE, and SW neighborhoods or more litter, illegal dumping and disadvantage minority and low income living with unsanitary conditions due continuing a restrictive fee based garbage collection program that has not worked for the disadvantaged decades for decades. Long gone are the days that the City haulers removed all garbage for all residents. Clean and environmental healthy neighborhoods will improve the quality of lives for those who need it most.

Guest

New residents are automatically assigned the cart that was assigned to the old residents when opening a new utility account. This is part of the problem

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