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DPW and manufacturer working to solve Newton's garbage can wheel problems

Posted by Sarah Thomas  August 12, 2010 05:30 PM

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Since its citywide adoption in October, Newton's automated, single-stream garbage and recycling collection system has saved the city money, cut down on garbage tonnage, increased recycling participation and left the city cleaner, said DPW Tom Daley. But persisting problems with the wheels on some of the cans have left residents frustrated.

The good news, Daley said, is that he and the manufacturer were collaborating on the solution.

"We have been working with Otto Environmental Systems, the manufacturer of our garbage cans, to figure out what the problem is. They work all over the country but have never had this many complaints," Daley said. "We're asking residents who have defective wheels to call a hotline Otto has set up to collect information on the problem."

The hotline number is 1-800-259-6886. Daley said the calls usually take less than a minute, and the turnaround time to fix the wheels is 1-2 days. Otto has already replaced wheels on 42,000 of the city's 54,000 garbage cans.

"That's 84,000 wheels in total," Daley said. Originally, the city had planned to do the replacement itself on about 3,000 cans. Otto is not charging for the wheel replacement service.

Daley said the new garbage collection service, which was begun after a successful yearlong pilot program, has helped the city become greener and saved money.

"Requiring people to use the cans means less trash and more recycling, and using the automated pickup system means that collection is quicker and more efficient," Daley said. "We're also finding that the city is neater, because the cans are heavier and don't blow over in stiff winds."

Daley said he was meeting with representatives from Otto next week to discuss their findings on the defective wheels. Residents whose cans have defective wheels will still have regular trash pickup.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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