News-Sun photo by CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY The new state-of-the-art recycling system is up and running in Avon Park, just in time for Christmas. The system will only work as well as residents use it. Here a bin is emptied into a truck, which is handled by a single driver.
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published: Friday, November 23, 2012
Single-stream recycling under way in City of Charm
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
Avon Park -- Just in time for Christmas with all its blister packs, cardboard and wrapping paper to get rid of, single-stream recycling is under way in the City of Charm. Avon Park is the only place in the county providing the service, through a contract with Republic.
Wednesday was the second pick-up. Twelve tons of material was gathered during the first collection on Nov. 14. That's a promising total, but citizens can pitch in to do even more considering that one truck can haul up to 10 tons.
Single-stream recycling means all recyclable material -- paper, plastic, metal and glass -- can be mixed in a single bin. With the new service, all residents have to do is fill the bin and put it to the curb.
The bins are bright blue with yellow lids to distinguish them from the black refuse bins.
The trucks themselves are a marvel of technology. They run on natural gas instead of diesel or gasoline.
Kenneth Dubose, driving a route Wednesday morning, showed how the rig worked.
There are two steering wheels. The left one is used for normal driving, the right one is used when picking up the bins. This is because the arms used to catch and lift the bins are on the right-hand side. The lifting arms operate with a joystick in the center console.
The truck has three cameras, one placed to show the driver what's going on inside the body of the truck, one on the right-hand side so the driver can see past the lifting arm and one in the rear. A monitor in the cab lets the driver see all three camera angles at once.
Dubose said the truck has all kinds of alarms to warn about any problems.
The city is divided into three sections, each with its own truck.
Dubose and his fellow drivers collect Avon Park's recyclables all in one day.
City Manager Julian Deleon came out to look the truck. In addition to looking to the future and helping business and the economy with the cutting-edge technology, the new system saves the city a considerable amount of money, he said.
Deleon pointed out two ordinary garbage trucks parked in the city's public works yard.
The city council followed Deletion's recommendation that regular garbage be picked up only one day a week. When residents recycle on Wednesday, most of the bulk is removed from the trash, meaning one regular garbage sanitation collection a week is enough. "Your garbage will fit in," Deleon said.
"The garbage trucks used to run four days a week," he added. "Monday and Tuesday, and Thursday and Friday. Now they only run Thursday and Friday."
This arrangement saves the city significant money, Deleon said. For example, just one tire for a truck costs $300, and fuel costs were roughly $70,000 a year. Each city garbage truck cost $220,000. By running them only two days a week, their working life will be much longer.
Additionally, the four employees driving the trucks on Monday and Tuesday are now free to work to work on other city projects.
"We have another savings because we save on tipping fees at the landfill," Deleon said.
Recyclable material is transported to Republic's new multi-million dollar center in Lakeland, where the materials are separated.
The drivers start their day in Lakeland at 6 a.m., hitting the road after a staff meeting. When they finish their route, they head back to Lakeland.
When Dubose was asked when his day ended, he said, "when the work is done."
Resident participation is the key to success, so the city is doing everything it can to get the word out about the service, including visiting schools to get children excited and engaged.
The city invested $190,000 in the plastic bins without charging any resident. The city is counting on residents to reciprocate.
Recycling (by: Georgia Fitzgerald - 11/28/2012)
What about those of us outside the city limites? When will we be able to be included in this ? I am waiting.
recycling (by: Harry - 11/28/2012)
The city provided a small list of what is recyclable but they should have also made a list of what items are not recyclable.
Charm ? (by: Sad Mama - 11/24/2012)
Please don't mock us by calling AP the city of charm because we all know that it is not true. Maybe Avon Park was charming in days gone by, many, many years ago. It has since become the rancid armpit of Highlands County. Poor city management & law enforcement makes this a horrible place to live anymore.
Corruption (by: Taking it in the can - 11/24/2012)
While collecting less garbage by reducing pickup to only one can per house, once per week, they are still charging us the same inflated fees. Who wins?
Recycling pickup (by: Cynthia - 11/23/2012)
Wow! Avon Park has finally entered the current times re recycling!! Keep up the good work!!
Recycle (by: Uncle Fester - 11/23/2012)
I'm 0-2. They City has had to come by my house to pick up the recyclables as the recycle company has yet to stop by my home.
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