Both Onalaska and La Crosse are in the process of rolling out a new way to get rid of your garbage, and along with the new process come need-to-know changes for residents.
Harter's Quick Clean-Up company is contracted with both cities for automated trash pick-up. Onalaska launched its program at the start of January, and La Crosse has just begun to set out the new bins for its residents. It's a slow-going process that city officials say will get more efficient over time, as residents become more accustomed to it.
Dale Hexom, director of the city’s Department of Public Works, said placement of the new bins has been a primary source for problems with residents and garbage truck drivers.
“Carts have to be about three feet apart, so when [the automated truck] pulls up, they can get their cart lifter between the carts,” he said.
Andy Prew is a trucker driver for Harter’s. In his first week with the new automated garbage truck, he said bin positioning has been tricky to deal with.
“They’re too close together, and some people have them right up next to their garages,” Prew said.
Moving your garbage and recycling bins away from building, light poles and cars makes his job a little easier.
"Once you get used to the trucks and residents get everything situated, it'll a piece of cake,” he said.
It’s taking Prew a little longer to finish his route as he gets used to the new ride, but city officials say the automated trash pick-up will save money and time in the long run. They’re also expecting to see a surge in recycling as a result of the new program.
Full implementation of the program in La Crosse is scheduled for the beginning of February, once all city residents have received their new bins. Starting on the first Monday of next month, garbage trucks will no longer empty old garbage cans – they’ll only be picking up the new ones.
If you’re looking to get rid of your old garbage cans, you may leave them out on recycling day for Harter’s to pick up. City officials say to make sure you mark them with a sign so drivers know which can to throw away.