Within a short period of time, Wyandotte County homeowners have increased approximately 9 percent from 2000 to 2010 according the U.S. Census Bureau. Due to this ever increasing amount of households, budgetary draw on resources for infrastructure, public utilities, and the police department have been stretched to the limits. Nothing has been so visible illustrating these issues as the amount of solid waste trash collected during the week. Unfortunately, due to the demands on solid waste trash collection, the more rural areas of the city are undergoing some problematic issues such as (a) trash dogs, raccoons, opossums, and other animals, (b) vandalism by teens and local neighborhood youth, and (c) excessive dumping by more urban and suburban homeowners and businesses.
With this in mind, this Feasibility Analysis for Dumpsters in Rural Neighborhoods focuses on the needs, interests, requirements, and expenditures of obtaining a dumpster. Phone surveys were conducted of a segment of the community that would inform what key problems are considered regarding trash issues and the possible benefit of a dumpster. Other areas researched have either transitioned or are considering transitioning to a neighborhood dumpster routine rather that continue with curbside trash pickup.
It was found that the overall convenience in securing a neighborhood dumpster far outweighed the minimal increase in cost. Nevertheless, because of this increase, the neighborhood declined the option of acquiring a dumpster.
The primary recommendation suggested was to have Neighborhood Revitalization groups start a petition to have the local solid waste service cost removed from rural neighborhoods Board of Public Utilities’ bills in lieu of a reduced cost for neighborhood dumpsters.
Ever since Kansas City Kansas Consolidation a number of years ago, development in Wyandotte County has been on the rise along with more housing divisions and households requiring advanced infrastructure and draw on the community’s resources for public utilities. With this in mind, the trash pickup, especially in more rural areas, has been neglected until later in the day and, once in awhile, to the next day. This has caused disturbing elements such as (a) trash dogs, raccoons, opossums, and other animals, (b) vandalism by teens and local neighborhood youth, and (c) excessive dumping by more urban and suburban homeowners and businesses.
Josh Baum, eHow Contributor, said in his article, How to Keep Animals From Getting in Trash Cans, “Most of these troublemakers can smell garbage from a great distance, and they can be extremely persistent when it comes to getting into your trash.”
Since the Household Hazardous Collection is, furthermore, delegated to only one half-day per month, it also draws more out-of-area “tourists” to illegally dump hazardous material in rural districts.
According to a statement issued by the KCK Public Works Division, Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, there are at least 50,000 households that Deffenbaugh, local sold waste service, picks up in a full five-day week which equates to approximately 10,000 per day.
Services of the Solid Waste Management include:
“. . . the oversight of the weekly residential trash service, the curbside recycling program, and the operation of both the Community Recycling Center at 3241 Park Drive, and the Household Hazardous Collection site at 2443 South 88th Street.” (Public Works)
It was found that the contracts for the Kansas City, Kansas trash pickup also included the city of Bonner Springs, Kansas.
“Residential trash service is provided for residents up to a four-plex. If over a four-plex the owner needs to contact a waste management company to take care of trash service for its renters.” (Public Works)
Another factor is, as the housing situation continues to increase, the issue of the diesel trash trucks generate a more troublesome situation with the carbon footprint and/or carbon dioxide and gas emissions thereby creating less clean and natural oxygen.
Elements of the Problems
One primary problem that has many factors is the lack of “security” in the curbside trash pickup. Unfortunately, due to the trash pickup taking all day in some rural areas of the city, this can create disasters where, in one instance, scattered trash was left outside a residence for three days without being cleaned up.
This trash issue occurred on a semi-rural neighborhood in June 2011 not one full block from the Hazel Grove elementary school building. Although it was unclear what could have occurred to create such a disaster, it is suspected that vandals might have hit the trash barrels with their car and did not stop to clean up the mess.
Another factor that makes this a primary source for this report is the fact that when collecting trash, Deffenbaugh has neither the time nor inclination to clean up disturbed trash in any area of the city.
The homeowners most probably were out of town since this stayed in this dilapidated condition for at least three-or-four days and during rain storms. Besides possible health violations, contamination issues and animal intrusion, the aesthetic look of the neighborhood is represented as being rundown. In addition, so near a grade school, the neighborhood children are exposed to this pollution, more so if the school had been in session.
This creates false misrepresentation by visitors, city officials and dumping violators.
Other elemental problems
Furthermore, trash violators deliberately search unguarded homeowners garbage bags for confidential documents, purchase items’ information, and/or credit card offers. They are found to be less likely to violate a large dumpster rather than private trash.
Rubbish delays, due to holidays, have caused extreme distress to homeowners who travel out-of-town. Some are uneasy with polluted trash creating unsanitary and malodorous conditions indoors and within garages.
Weather impediments that delay the local solid waste service have also created some very uncomfortable situations for some rural homeowners.
Another issue that is under examination is the amount of carbon dioxide produced within the Kansas City, Kan. environment by diesel engine garbage trucks. According to the Public Works report, the Deffenbaugh garbage trucks make approximately 50,000 individual stops each week for curbside trash pickup. This fact does not include the additional more or less 50,000 stops by the Deffenbaugh recycling trucks per week equaling a total of approximately 100,000 stop/starts by large diesel engine trucks. When considering this issue, how much less time would be spent by a diesel engine garbage truck in one single local neighborhood if it only had one or two stops instead of the approximated 10 to 12 stops per block?
An article produced by Science News said, “Motor Vehicles and Carbon Emissions - A General Overview,” a test was made of hybrid garbage trucks. These trucks use a hygienic version of diesel fuel. The report stated that “these trucks are expected to have 30 percent less carbon emissions than their non-hybrid equivalents.” (Science News)
The Environmental Protection Agency produced a report in February 2005, Emission Facts: Average Carbon Dioxide Emissions Resulting from Gasoline and Diesel Fuel, to calculate the estimated amount of carbon dioxide produced by a diesel engine. “One of the primary determinants of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from mobile sources is the amount of carbon in the fuel,” the report said. “Diesel carbon content per gallon [equals] 2,778 grams.”
In a brief phone interview, Deffenbaugh was questioned if its garbage and recyclable trucks were full diesel engine or a hybrid version. Officials refused to comment or supply their names. (Personal Interview)
To better understand the good and bad points for a possible dumpster vs. curbside trash pickup in the rural sections of the city, a phone poll was taken of a small sample segment of the community. The findings were found to be pretty even between benefits and disadvantages regarding the option for a local neighborhood dumpster except with one surprising conclusion.
Most of the neighbors who answered the questionnaires said that the foremost overall benefit to a local neighborhood dumpster was to avoid the continuous invasion of animals in the trash. Since most neighbors piled their trash in one centralized location, the nearest neighbor found the responsibility of cleaning up after scattered trash annoying. Other neighbors either neglected or ignored a scattered trash issue.
Secondary benefit to obtaining a neighborhood dumpster would be the overall convenience in depositing household trash products in the container at any time during the week. This would avoid delays in trash pickup service, homeowners who might have to travel during normal trash pickups, holiday delays, and excessive trash accumulation. It would also be considered a benefit during predicted weather conditions to dispose rubbish earlier in the week.
The last high priority benefit ascribed by the sample poll was the benefit to be able to avoid weather issues that might rip or damage bags and containers. A neighborhood dumpster would protect damaged bags from scattering debris all over.
Overall, the most detrimental reason for possibly acquiring a neighborhood dumpster was an additional cost for the dumpster aside from the original $13.75 a month residents are charged on the BPU bill. (Public Works)
Public Works Division's report, Deffenbaugh Residential Trash Pickup in Kansas City, Kansas, stated that, “Waste management services include weekly trash pickup, weekly curbside recycling, a drop off recycling center, and several drop-off days for household hazardous waste.”
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no reduced amount of cost on the BPU bill for neighborhood dumpster allocation. “I have been informed by Public Works that there is no exception feature in our Waste Management Program,” wrote Edwin Birch, Public Information Officer City Hall.
The representative for Dumpsters and Recycling, Deffenbaugh, stated in a phone interview in June 2011 that the cost of having a neighborhood dumpster, size approximately four-yards, would be $70 per month. The amount would be equally divided by all neighborhood homeowners. This would be in addition to the $13.75 per month charged on the BPU bill. (Personal Interview)
The sample community poll’s results state that cost is the priority issue for declining the option of a neighborhood dumpster. If the Unified Government’s stand on cost were to alter, they might reconsider it.
Another issue to consider is the aesthetic view of the garbage dumpster, as well as the recycling dumpster, that might affect the neighborhood’s overall appearance.
Most residents find a concern with the aesthetic look of a large dumpster in their neighborhood. However, in Normandy, France, where neighborhood dumpsters are required for the entire city, dumpsters are designed to be attractive and blend in with the surrounding district.
Gabrielle Blair, designer and mother of six, whose family was spending a year in Europe stated on her website, Design Mom, that there is no curbside trash pickup. There are only dumpsters. At first, she did not know what to make of it but has found since that it is a great convenience to her and her family.
“This is the first time we’ve lived somewhere without curbside pickup, so I was a bit surprised. But, since Ben Blair and I are ridiculous about forgetting to put our trash out on the right day, we’ve decided this is a good method for us. When the garbage bags are full, or the recycling has piled up, we drop them off at the dumpster during our next errand. There are specific bins for garbage, paper, plastic and glass.”
In the Landfilled report, a finalized account of approximately 23 forums conducted by the Mid-American Regional Council, residents discussed the issue of the decrease in landfill locations and space in the Kansas City Metro area. The theme of the topic was based mainly on landfills and how to increase recyclable materials Nevertheless, under the question, “What does the ideal recycling system look like for you?” some respondents suggested that “Everything goes in one container, both trash and recycling.”
One suggestion by several respondents in the Landfilled report suggested that to help with recycling and landfill issues, there should be a one-or-two-bag limitation for homeowners’ trash. This would also increase the homeowners’ awareness on the value of recycling.
Besides how to best enforce laws and regulations on homeowners to limit to one-or-two trash bags per week, this could indubitably increase the number of illegal trash dumping in rural areas. “Restricting the amount of waste will cause illegal dumping and increase use of commercial dumpsters by private individuals.”
The overwhelming focus was on the factor of an additional cost. The sample community poll was not interested in an additional utilities’ expenditure even though the disbursement of expense would be divided among the neighbors.
On the other hand, when analyzing the prioritization of individual topics, there is an almost 36 percent increase on the priority item regarding animal invasion vs. the amount of dumpster cost.
In order to further the plan for rural neighborhood dumpsters, (a) individual Neighborhood Revitalization (NBRs) groups should develop petitions to present to city officials in the Public Works Division and city commissioners regarding changes in the BPU bill to remove the $13.75 from residents’ bills in the areas approved for neighborhood dumpsters. (b) Neighborhood groups should choose a select area where both the trash and recyclable dumpster might look more aesthetically suitable, and (c) further investigation needs to be made on the effect of the continued levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it relates to diesel engine consumption from garbage and recyclable trucks.
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