PLANT CITY, Fla. – A new, automated waste collection system called Cart-To-Curb will be rolled out next summer in Plant City, but first, city officials want to hear from residents regarding their preferences, needs, questions, concerns, and previous experience with automated systems.
“Plant City’s waste collection vehicles need to be replaced, so it made sense for us to look at all the options, including automated ones,” said Bill McDaniel, City manager. “We found that the Cart-To-Curb automated system will increase efficiency, allow for quicker waste collection, provide a more uniform look throughout the city and will be cleaner, neater and more sanitary, which is especially important during the flu season and with COVID-19. We know residents will have questions and concerns, and we want to hear them and respond to them.”
The clean, courteous, and convenient Cart-To-Curb program will be rolled out in two phases, in the summers of 2021 and 2022. It will use collection vehicles that are loaded from one side by hydraulically controlled arms that pick up specially designed residential waste bins on wheels. These bins, or carts, as they are called, will be provided for free to every residence within the City limits.
Before the rollout, residents must pick a cart, from a choice of three sizes, that is adequate for the amount of solid waste their household usually puts out at the curb. They also will be asked for input on the frequency of pickups, whether once or twice weekly.
The City will mail informational materials, send surveys, post facts and figures in a special section of the city’s website, hold community meetings and make presentations upon request at virtual or in-person meetings of neighborhood residents, homeowners associations, civic groups and places of worship.
City officials will listen to and answer any questions people may have about the new Cart-To-Curb system and consider any suggestions submitted in an effort to engage all residents, build consensus and increase support for the project.
“This rollout will be smoothest and most successful if we get input from as many people as possible,” said McDaniel. “I hope every organization, church group and civic and social club in the city will host a presentation to help us get the word out about the new automated system. We also can conduct virtual meetings.”
A printed public-opinion survey will be available at the presentations and there will be a QR-code portal online.
Because current Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines limit the number of people who can gather together, it is important that groups schedule their Cart-To-Curb presentations as soon as possible — and maybe schedule more than one to accommodate all their members or schedule a virtual presentation with City staff.
Homeowners associations may need to revise bylaws to accommodate the new waste management system, so it is imperative that they schedule informational meetings now.