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Tweak, But Don’t Overhaul, Garbage Collection Rules

David Leathers, BPU general manager, admits there are some tweaks to be made to Jamestown’s garbage collection policies.

But city residents shouldn’t expect wholesale changes to the system.

The days of the BPU’s solid waste employees handling everyone’s garbage are over. No one should blame the BPU for that change — the blame goes to city residents whose garbage was riddled with needles, broken panes of glass and other sharp items that were cutting garbage collectors. In this day and age, who wants to take the chance of being poked with someone’s used needle while collecting garbage or glass that has been sitting amongst rotting food for a week?

There are going to be uniform garbage cans used throughout the city, and those cans can only hold a finite amount of garbage. Those who need additional cans will need to either purchase one, schedule an additional visit or take their garbage to one of the county waste transfer stations.

The move to closed cans are a good thing for everyone’s health. Animals can’t rip into the new containers and attract rodents and bugs. And the BPU invested in the new cans because it knew from experience that many people wouldn’t or couldn’t.

Refusing collection because a lid isn’t closed completely is where the BPU can make a common-sense tweak — but it isn’t going to make people happy. Some of the garbage that hasn’t been collected likely could have been collected safely if the garbage can lid was only raised a bit. There have to be limits, but there has to be flexibility too, especially during the holiday season when everyone has more garbage. Perhaps, for an additional December fee, there is an additional scheduled pickup so holiday garbage doesn’t pile up. Or, for those whose garbage is put out properly the rest of the year the December holiday pickup is free as a reward for following the rules.

That’s part of the problem.

The flip side is those who won’t purchase the additional can they need or pay for the additional pick-up they require. City Council members who spoke Monday want to see the garbage collected and people charged for the BPU’s additional time and hassle. We agree. For those who refuse to abide by the new rules, ignorance cannot be bliss.

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