The city of Gladstone recently began their new automated solid waste collection. They're using a new garbage truck. It's a $400,000 investment that's saving the city about $70,000 a year in labor.
It packs a lot more power but uses less manpower. The crew is made up of one driver who uses a joystick to operate the arm.
Before, residents relied on a three-man garbage truck to take out the trash. It was made up of one driver and two garbage throwers.
â??We had quite a few injuries like hernias, torn muscles, and workers being cut with glass," explains Barry Lund, Gladstone Public Works Director.
There were no layoffs with the two other workers. But now, instead of their arms doing the heavy lifting, there's a mechanized arm that does the job. It increases safety and efficiency.
The new process is very speedy as well. From the time the mechanized arm grabs the trash cart to the time it's dumped, it only takes about eight seconds.
The new truck also has a screen that shows what's happening when the garbage is lifted and crushed.
But even though sanitation operator, Adam Zimmermann, has a better view, it's important for drivers to stay aware as well.
â??Basically, the worst things we have are people coming up very close,â?? said Zimmermann. â??They speed past the truck--it doesn't usually take that long--so waiting and being safe is probably a better thing to do."
Other than patience, there's another thing that Zimmermann recommends.
â??I'm excited for the recycling,â?? Zimmermann said. â??Iâ??m hoping that people look at the top of their lids and recycle what they should recycle. I wish we recycled more in Delta County."
Gladstone residents have been given one cart for solid waste and another cart for recycling materials.