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The Roll Out of Trash Carts in Syracuse Shows Some Challenges

 Trash cans lined up along a city street.
Dylan Suttles
The new covered trash carts along Ross Park in Syracuse.

The soft roll-out of new trash carts in Syracuse for use with automated curbside trash pick-up shows some challenges but, it’s going fairly well. Soon 36,000 more residents will be getting their trash carts starting next week. City Councilors were updated about the program during a Public Works committee meeting on Monday. Chief Operations Officer Corey Driscoll Dunham says 75% of those residents found to be in violation during the first phase made the necessary corrections.

"That (percentage) kind of tells us, if people are aware that there’s an issue, they don’t usually want to get charged by the city for doing it. So, if we could reach the owners more quickly, maybe we could make that number even higher and avoid violation notices altogether,” said Driscoll Dunham.

There will be many ways the city continues to educate the public about the new trash carts including displays at key city offices and a newly produced video demonstrating the correct way to use them. Driscoll Dunham said only about a couple dozen people out of 6,800 have contacted her office expressing they’re unable to use the new trash bins. She shared a recent call from a resident.

“And she (the resident) says I’ve got bad knees, I’ve got a bad back, I’m not going to be able to do this. I said, that’s fine, give me your address, we’ll send out the form,” said Driscoll Dunham.

Driscoll Dunham said she wants people to know there are exemptions and accommodations that can be made, if necessary. However, she said the goal of the program is to keep the city cleaner. She is working on creating more policies for the automated trash cart program to continue to work smoothly. Some Councilors expressed the need to have rules for residents bringing back the trash carts from the road within a certain window of time following trash pick-up. They also wondered if there should be an extra charge for residents who require additional trash bins. The new carts are 96 gallons.

For more information on the new trash cart system in Syracuse visit Residents may also call Cityline at (315) 448 - CITY.

Related: City offices reopen to in-person visits.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.