State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Get Ready: Dramatic Changes in Garbage Collection Coming to State College Borough

by on March 14, 2013 8:34 AM

Taking the trash out will be a whole new ballgame for State College residents beginning April 1. The borough is rolling out its new refuse collection system -- which for the first time -- will give residents the ability to recycle "organics". According to Ed Holmes, the Borough's Public Services Manager, "As far as we know, State College is the first community east of the Mississippi to offer curbside food scrap collection to all of its residents."

The borough will also be using new automated garbage trucks to speed up the collection process. Those trucks are equipped to lift and dump garbage bins, eliminating the need for some workers. A lone operator will control the entire process from the driver’s seat. Holmes says the use of automated trucks is fairly widespread, "It's used in communities all over the world."

New trash carts will be delivered to State College residents starting the week of March 25. Each household will receive up to two carts at no cost; a cart with a black lid for regular trash; and an optional cart with a green lid for organics.

There will also be schedule changes. About half of all residents will have their garbage picked up on a different day, either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

According to the borough's website, The automated garbage trucks take about 12 seconds per stop compared to to almost 45 seconds per stop with current equipment. The faster process should reduce labor costs. As a result, the borough says it can expand the organic waste collection pilot program to all residential customers without increasing fees.

Trash collectors will accept the following organic waste; food, cooked and uncooked; paper products such as plates, napkins, tissues and newspapers; garden waste, grass clippings, cold wood ash, brush and leaves. Ed Holmes says, "If you can eat it or grow it in your backyard, you can put it in your organic can, with a few exceptions, mostly some liquids." Response from State College residents has been positive with about 80 percent of homes electing to get organic recycling carts.

There will be an additional change for 181 properties that previously had trash picked up from alleys in the rear of their buildings. Under the new system, those residents will need to move trash to the street in front of their properties. However, at-the-door collection will still be available for people who require it.

Residents will be receiving a postcard with additional information about the new program. Staffers at the Public Works Department are available to answer your questions at 234-7135 or 234-7140. Those phone lines will operate Monday through, Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also email your questions to [email protected]

Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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