Trashcan Problems

Jan 30, 2019

To the Editor:

I am writing regarding Beach Haven’s proposed changeover to the automated trashcans. While I understand and support the need to protect township workers from injury, there are a couple of parts of the plan that I find problematic.

First, there is the requirement to move trashcan storage to the side of the house. I don’t have any formal numbers, but on observation it would appear that most of Beach Haven’s homes have a curbside corral to manage their trashcans.

a) Relocating them to the side of the house may be difficult or impossible for some due to parking and/or walkways alongside the home.

b) There are many older residents in Beach Haven who may not be able to move larger (three times) and heavier cans 20 to 30 feet across their stone front yards. And even younger and stronger residents may struggle dragging a full 95-gallon can, wheeled or not, across stones.

Secondly, the requirement to have owners place the trash curbside becomes an issue. In addition to the physical challenge I mentioned above for residents (which frankly should not be underestimated), there are hundreds of rental properties in Beach Haven. I’ve seen firsthand what happens when renters are expected to remember to put out the trash while on vacation with an unfamiliar collection schedule. They often forget or don’t realize it is trash day and trashcans are left full for the next renter, who ends up piling bags on top of the containers. Next thing you know the seagulls have spread garbage all over the street and the owners end up getting fined. Nobody wins in this scenario.

Then there is the large number of property owners in Beach Haven who use their homes only on weekends. How are these part-time residents supposed to put their trash out every week when they aren’t there? What about houses that have bike lanes out front like those on Beach and Atlantic avenues. Are we now building obstacle courses for the bicyclists? Do we want families veering into the driving lanes to avoid trashcans?

Public works claims that having owners place cans curbside and workers return cans to the side of the house is more efficient. I cannot see how this process is more efficient than storing the cans curbside to begin with. Surely moving a couple of cans 5 feet from the curbside corral to the truck and back is more efficient than having to drag the empties around the side of every house, no?

I am fine with the change to the new cans, and I support protecting our workers from injury, but I think there are ways to go about this without upending the whole system. I suggest that the borough allow existing corrals to remain curbside (modified to have an open front) and have the trash collectors continue to collect and return the cans to the corrals.

The final reading of this ordinance takes place on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. I suggest that concerned homeowners attend and voice their opinions. For those who cannot attend, the borough posts the email addresses of the mayor and council on its website. I recommend contacting each of them to express your concerns.

Tim Krug

Bryn Mawr, Pa., and Beach Haven


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