The City of Detroit wisely dumped its idea to collect bulk trash every other month instead of monthly. When the Department of Public Works (DPW) floated the plan to city residents, most dissed it (News Hits, April 14).
DPW, which has the thankless task of picking up bulk trash (i.e. discarded furniture, appliances and other big-ass items), held 10 focus groups on the subject at neighborhood city halls. News Hits attended a session on the southwest side, where folks basically told DPW reps, “Don’t even go there.” Apparently the department got similar feedback from other groups.
The city was to decide in a month or so whether to institute the change, being considered as one means of knocking a few bucks off of a projected budget deficit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says tops $333 million. But last week, DPW director James Jackson told News Hits he trashed the idea after residents firmly rejected it. Jackson also learned from the focus groups that most folks have no clue about what bulk trash is.
According to Jackson, it is not tree limbs, grass clippings and other yard refuse. It also is not household waste, other material that should be disposed of in city trash bins for weekly pickup. Nor is bulk trash paint, motor oil, batteries and other toxic waste that harms the air and earth when incinerated or landfilled. (Such items can be dropped at Environmental Quality Detroit, which charges no fee to Detroit residents. For more info about that call 313-923-0080.)
Jackson says the city pays landfills $4 a ton to sift out recyclable items such as tree, shrub and other yard waste; the city collects between 150,000 tons and 200,000 tons annually, says Jackson.
“What we are looking at is the enormous cost to dispose of the bulk waste because our customers are not setting it out properly,” he says.
The city must cut costs since the bulk trash budget was reduced from $11.4 million last fiscal year to $10.3 million this fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, according to Jackson.
He plans to educate the public by placing bulk trash pamphlets at neighborhood city halls. Those who set out non-bulk trash items will be duly notified — and their trash will not be collected. Now, that sounds like a plan.Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]