6 ways to speed up city's waste cleanup

Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009

I was one of those who spent two hours in line to properly dispose of my "household hazardous waste," to wit, one old portable television set. The mystification over the long lines from CBJ bureaucrats and their vague suggestions on how to solve that mystery were disappointing. Here are my thoughts on how to speed things up next time. Last month's cleanup more resembled a high school car wash than a public event conducted by a well-paid contractor.

1. Find a few more clipboards. People could complete the registration form while waiting in line instead of only after they pulled up to the unloading position.

2. Establish an "express lane" where people with one TV set or computer monitor, half a dozen florescent bulbs, or other discrete, small, easily identifiable discard loads can be handled most efficiently, or a slow line for those with a trailer full of cans and poisons they can't identify. Maybe the person handing out the clipboards could direct vehicles to the express or slow lines.

3. Assign more than two people to unload vehicles. That's all I saw doing that work when my turn came, while several others were sorting the discards. The contractor can do the sorting later, or when unloading lines aren't as long.

4. Make sure other activities - like amateur forklift drivers stacking monitors on pallets for shipping - don't get in the way of vehicle unloading.

5. Tell the woman who managed one of the two unloading points to focus on her job and not chat up every driver. Politeness and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.

6. Grossly increase fines and penalties for persons caught improperly disposing of hazardous waste. It should at least equal to the cost of gasoline, wear and tear on 100 cars and trucks idling for two hours. If the statutory fine can't be changed, levy a borough environmental clean-up surcharge and use the revenue to improve household hazardous cleanup days. Sentence illegal dumpers to community work service in the form of unloading vehicles on the next hazardous cleanup day.

Bob Tkacz


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