Conversion of waste trucks from split can to single cans for refuse and recyclables began last week
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – Work has begun on a long-awaited project to convert Visalia’s split-can for refuse and recycling to two separate containers.
Jim Ross, public works manager for the City of Visalia, said the city sent off its first waste truck to be converted from a split-body to a single-body truck last week. The work is being done by A&E Welding, which already had a $100,000 per year contract for miscellaneous welding and fabrication of city vehicles, but was awarded an additional $145,000 this year to do the conversion on 19 waste trucks. The conversion will cost about $7,600 per truck to remove the divider in the body of the truck, the dump gate and packer blades, as well as other minor modifications for functionality. The conversion will also make the trucks more efficient. Because they are lighter, the trucks can pick up more cans before having to dump a load. Ross said the city is planning to convert one truck per week before the rollout of new cans this spring.
Starting on March 4, Ross said the city will begin replacing split cans with two, separate cans on one route per day. The replacement will happen in three parts. The waste truck will pick up your split-can on its scheduled day. Later that day, a delivery crew will drop off the new refuse can and recycling can followed by a pick-up crew which will remove the split can. The city has already ordered 62,000 new cans and will convert 20,000 split cans to single cans to service Visalia’s 40,000 homes. Ross said the 3-can system rollout will take two and a half to three months and should be completed by the middle of June.
“We will begin doing public outreach in the first part of February,” Ross said. “Residents will also be notified a week prior to the new cans on their route.”
The split cans have long been criticized by residents who say they have more recyclable materials than the half-can can hold on a weekly basis. Single cans are also cheaper to replace because they take less time to assemble. In all, staff projected the City would save $625,000 per year and a return on the investment within 11 years.
The city will also be activating radio frequency identification (RFID) chips on each of the three cans at each residence. Ross said the chips will allow the city’s Solid Waste Department to digitally track when and if cans were picked up at each home to be address any customer issues.
“This should really streamline our customer service,” Ross said.