Starting January 1, 2022, expect to see some new trucks around town. After decades of familiar, green Waste Management (WM) and E.J. Harrison (EJH) trucks, Athens Services will be bringing new red and grey trash trucks and street sweepers to town, fueled with clean renewable natural gas (RNG). Not only are the trucks changing color next year, but the bins will be too. The City is moving to State-standard colors – charcoal for garbage, blue for recycling, and green for organics (landscape and food waste). Both commercial bins and residential carts will use these same colors. Several more changes are also afoot – not only will residential service come as a bundled package of 3-containers, but commercial service will also. All businesses will receive a 3-container “package” with garbage, recycling, and organics waste containers included. More to come on that.
The new waste hauling agreement, which Council approved on March 9, will bring many benefits – a walk-in Sustainability/Customer Service Center in town, online dashboard to locate your trash truck in real-time, food waste collection, three free landfill days a year, and twice-a-year large item pickup (max. of six items in total) at no cost (added for multi-family complexes for the first time). But perhaps most exciting are the lower rates and a new household hazardous waste (HHW) home pickup service.
The cost of the basic residential cart service (64-gallon garbage, 64-gallon recyclables, 96-gallon green waste) will be reduced from $36.73 per month to $24.36. This will save the average resident almost $150 a year. Rates will increase annually by the consumer price index, but if that remains at around 2.5%, then after the fifteen-year contract ends residents will pay no more for trash service than they do right now!
Thousand Oaks will become the first city in the County to offer household hazardous waste collection at your door. Four times a year, residents will be able to dispose of their used paints, oils, cleaning supplies, solvents, electronics and batteries by using a box supplied and picked up by Athens at their home. These materials will be processed at the City’s permanent HHW Facility in Newbury Park, which will remain open for drop-offs every Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Residents and small children alike will enjoy being able to track down their trash truck using an online dashboard that shows the location of trucks in real-time. No better way to ensure you don’t miss that weekly visit!
And last but not least, we can celebrate the minimal impact to air emissions from the new trucks, running on RNG. This fuel is sourced from biogas released in the breakdown of organic material at wastewater treatment plants, landfills and dairy farms. Depending on the exact source, this fuel can even have negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, meaning that it prevents the release of more GHGs from the atmosphere than it adds when combusted. RNG also has much lower NOx emissions (responsible for many respiratory health issues) than gasoline or diesel. Makes RNG a fuel that’s hard to beat!
Watch the City Council Meeting on the topic from March 9, 2021.