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New Garbage Collection System Comes to Sturgeon Bay

After the citywide delivery of 9,000 new garbage and recycling cans, Sturgeon Bay’s revamped trash collection system rolled out last week.

The city’s two new $200,000 garbage trucks, which come equipped with robotic grabber arms to pick up the new cans, hit the streets for the first time on Nov. 12. Besides the new cans and trucks, the biggest change to the system is a switch from dual stream to single stream recycling.

Rather than separate out paper products from glass, plastic, and aluminum, residents can now mix all their normal recyclables in the same 96-gallon can.

“The co-mingled thing should hopefully increase recycling efforts, if just marginally,” said Sturgeon Bay resident Chris Olson.

In addition to simplifying things for residents, the change from dual to single stream will cut recycling costs for the city.

“Right now it costs $14 a ton to process paper and $47 a ton to process everything else,” said Bob Bordeau, the city’s Public Works Superintendent. “With single stream the overall price is $13 a ton.”

The new collection system is also expected to save money by increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of workers’ compensation claims the city receives.

“The guys no longer have to get out of the truck when it’s snowing or raining or slippery,” said Bordeau. “Now they just operate the truck by remote control.”

Collection dates and times will remain the same, but residents may notice that their garbage and recycling are now being picked up at different times by different trucks. The new cans also must be correctly placed – three feet from obstructions or other garbage carts with wheels away from the road – for the trucks to be able to pick them up.

Bordeau said he doesn’t think anyone will have any real trouble with the system, but there may be some adjustments that have to be taken into account.

“In winter time it’s going to be a concern because the cans have to be on level ground, so people might have to clear away some snow from their snow banks,” said Bordeau.

Olson is also confident that he and his fellow residents will be able to manage the change.

“I think really it’s not that big of a deal,” said Olson. “It’s just a transition from one type of container to another, and it’s a trend that’s happening all over.”

A detailed packet of information regarding the new collection system is available on the city’s website, sturgeonbaywi.org. Questions about the system can be called into the city’s Municipal Services Department at 920.746.2912.