Clearing up trash pickup misconceptions - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Clearing up trash pickup misconceptions

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(WMC-TV) – The city of Memphis says limiting some garbage pickups to just a few times a year will save millions of dollars. But what goes to the dump, and what stays on the curb?

The bottom line is that the city considers "trash" and "garbage" two different things. Garbage goes in 96 gallon containers and will continue to be picked up weekly under any new scenario.

James Allen jumped to many of the same conclusions as other Memphians when he heard city officials were exploring new ways to collect solid waste.

"Garbage would be everywhere," he said when asked what would happen if it wasn't collected once a week.

"Bunch of garbage," was Allen's reaction to Public Works Director Dwan Gilliom's statement that once-a-week trash collection services would be eliminated.

Many concerned citizens shared their comments both with us and city hall. So, I asked the CAO to make it clear what the administration intends to do.

"Continue to provide weekly pick up of household waste, which we refer to as garbage," Memphis CAO George Little said.

Here's the difference:

"Garbage" is what normally goes into the 96 gallon container you place on the curb and, like Little said, includes normal household waste. It will continue to be collected weekly under any new plan.

On the other hand, "trash" includes yard waste, rubbish and things that go out seasonally or during a move. That may begin to be collected off the street every three months or so unless you pay for it.

Basically, say city officials, Memphis provides too many sanitation services at significantly less cost than comparable cities. So keeping fees where they are means holding back on when certain waste disappears.

Just for comparison purposes, Memphians pay about $20 a month in residential solid waste fees. Folks in Atlanta pay $28 and out in San Jose, California? They pay $80 per month.

Part of the overhaul also includes making fees more equitable, so the person who puts less on the curb every week pays less.

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