Sacramento’s trash removal services are undergoing a revamp in a bid to save money. Currently, city residents enjoy weekly pick-up of recyclables and yard waste, including leaves and fallen branches. The city’s waste collectors accomplish this by using a modified excavator that features a set of hydraulic arms. Residents leave their yard debris in loose piles by the curb where it is scooped up by the excavator and deposited in an accompanying truck. The excavator itself is affectionately referred to as “The Claw” by local and sanitation workers.
The revisions to Sacramento’s recycling and yard collection service reduce the use of The Claw to only three months. These months are November, December, and January; selected under the presumption that most trees have shed their leaves by the end of the fall season. Outside of those months, The Claw will be used per request by residents who have bulky trash items. In addition, recycling services have been trimmed down from weekly picks-ups to biweekly pick-ups.
These changes have not been met with unanimous support, as many area residents prefer weekly service for all of their waste disposal needs. Under the new rules, residents would have to acquire additional trash bins or dumpsters for their yard waste. And not everyone has the room in their driveway to accommodate several bins for a combination of yard waste, recyclables, and regular trash. Also, many Sacramento residents recycle the majority of their waste to begin with, leaving them with a lot more waste on their property over the two-week interval between pick-ups.
On the bright side, approximately 12,000 residents will receive brand-new trash bins for their yard waste. Every resident will also receive a coupon for one free pick-up of their bulky trash items. While a number of Sacramento residents oppose the changes, many of them see it as a better way to save money compared to other potential actions the city could have taken. As many states and city councils look for ways to cut their spending, many of them will look to their public services. Trash collection is usually the easiest service to trim back without causing much frustration for residents. In this case, cutting back on services not deemed “essential”, such as yard waste and recycling collections, allows the city to save more money while still providing those services.
Every other city in Sacramento county has already cut back their recycling programs to include just one pick-up for every two weeks. In the long-run many other cities across the United States may follow suit in order to save more public dollars.