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Homeowners to receive new carts as garbage service changes

March 7, 2012

Wauwatosa is preparing for the switch to automated garbage collection by ordering more than 15,000 new garbage carts.

The Common Council on Tuesday authorized spending about $787,000 for new carts made in part from recycled materials, as well as the collection and disposal of the old carts.

"All the residents who don't want to keep their carts can rest assured they will be recycled," said Elizabeth Hilt, management analyst for the city's Public Works Department.

The new carts will fit the automated arm on the new garbage trucks, which should be delivered to the city in June. After a month of training, a driver will cover a route staying in the vehicle while the arm picks up carts, dumps their contents into the back of the truck and returns the empty carts curbside.

The new carts will hold the 96 gallons of waste as the existing garbage carts, Hilt said.

"It has the same capacity, it's just taller and has a smaller footprint," she said.

Residents will have the option of keeping their existing carts for yard waste material, but the city would no longer be responsible for repairing or replacing them.

So many of the 20-year-old existing carts have been breaking down - 30 in the past six months - that one city laborer has been dedicated to handling repairs. The new carts will free up that employee to move on to other public works tasks, Hilt said.

Other municipalities who are using the carts point out their durability. They will come with a 10-year warranty and an expected 15- to 20- year useful life.

The city will provide a schedule for changing out the carts when the order is ready for delivery.

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