Thursday, July 3, 2014

What To Do About Greensboro's Garbage Cans

Today N.M. Chopra writes of having had a total hip replacement due to a fall caused by one of Greensboro's trash cans. Without a doubt that's tragic and a lot of people have problems with Greensboro's garbage cans. I sympathize, they're big, heavy and hard for many people to manage. I'm doing okay at 58 but where will I be at 68, 78 or 88? There are things that could be done to help though I can be certain it won't solve the problem entirely. One way would be to fill the plastic wheels with concrete or some other ballast.

Another would be to affix a ballast to the bottom of the can on the inside. Wider wheels might help as well. The fat tires from those electric trucks and other children's toys like the Fisher-Price Power Wheels truck pictured below will actually fit. (I've checked.) As a matter of fact, I have a pair if someone from the City of Greensboro would like to try them before I dream up another project.

How many of those wheels end up in our landfill every year about the time the batteries die and will no longer recharge? Wouldn't those mag wheels and knobby tires look great on our City of Greensboro recycling cans?

Of course none of these solutions are perfect. The height and funnel shape of the cans (high center of gravity) are the major problems and all 3 of my solutions add weight which is already a problem for some people. And major changes to the cans require redesigns of the City's entire fleet of garbage and recycling vehicles. A shorter, fatter can would solve the problem but a shorter, fatter can wouldn't go through most backyard gates.

For people with the means I recommend hiring someone to manage your cans for you. At one time there were in-fact companies offering this service in Greensboro though I'm not sure if they still exist. For others, a friend or family member.

And still for others, despite the fact that the City says it's illegal, if you simply cannot handle the cans and haven't the means to do otherwise then leave them on the street and carry your small bags of trash to your cans. If you don't like the looks of the cans then decorate them making sure the drivers can still tell which can is which. Do it quick before City Council passes a law against decorating your cans that way you'll be grandfathered in.

The fact is: We're stuck with the design we have now. Some small alterations can be made (Some cans have better closures than others) but for the most part, unless we as taxpayers are willing to pay about 3 times as much for garbage collection to go back to the old system, this is it. As for people leaving their cans on the street-- I've never heard of any disabled or elderly people being penalized for doing so, have you?