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Recycling Cart Wind Mitigation Pilot Project

Modifying residential recycling carts to prevent litter issues due to the wind.

BACKGROUND

One of the major concerns we've heard from residents is that the stubborn southern Alberta wind blows their blue cart around. Recycling carts do pose different challenges than garbage collection because the items are light and need to be loose in the cart rather than bagged. 

We understand this is a challenge in our community, particularly during the more wind prone times of the year. Our blue carts do meet industry standards which tests them to a wind tolerance of 60 km/hr - just another day in Lethbridge, right? Unfortunately, not many other municipalities experience wind like us and those that do also struggle for a good solution. These solutions, such as postponing blue cart collection on windy days, also come with significant additional costs, as well as create uncertainty for residents.

To help prevent litter from our unique wind situation, the City will be testing a variety of cart modifications. 


OBJECTIVE

Test several cart modifications (rubber weighted wheels and/or lid latches) to mitigate:

  • Carts tipping over prior to collection
  • Recyclables exiting the cart and creating litter concerns

OVERVIEW

This pilot is on a volunteer basis. There will be no cost to the household to participate, you will only be required to fill out a short survey midway through the pilot and another one at the end. The pilot is planned to run for eight to ten months, with the possibility of an extension to test the carts in varying weather conditions. Residents wishing to do so, will be able to keep their modified cart at the end of the pilot as long as no operational issues have arisen.

There are a limited number of cart modifications available for this pilot. Residents will need to call 311 to request to be a participant and once the pilot is full, residents will be put on a waitlist. Waitlisted residents will be given priority if any additional spaces become available or if the pilot is expanded. Given the expected demand for a modified cart, pilot residents who do not complete one of the surveys will be removed from the program and their cart will be replaced.

Should any significant operational or user issues arise, the pilot will be suspended at the City's discretion and all modified carts will be replaced.

REGISTERING FOR THE PILOT PROJECT

The City has outlined specific areas that will be the basis for the pilot. These areas were selected due to their severity of wind conditions and reported cart issues. Only residents within the selected areas will be allowed to participate.

To register, residents must:

  • Call 311 by April 1st, at 4:30pm and request your household be added to the pilot.
    • Residents can only call for their own household and cannot register for their neighbours.
  • Supply the name that is listed on the utility account for their household
  • Supply an email address the City can reach them at in regards to the surveys and any changes that may arise during the pilot.
  • Supply a phone number if placed on the waitlist.
  • Phone numbers received will only be used to contact the resident if a space becomes available or to be included if the pilot is expanded.
    • Residents may drop out of the pilot at any time however they will not be able to rejoin at a later date. Residents who are planning to move during the pilot may still participate. We just ask they contact the City, by calling 311, so we can change over your information.

 

PILOT RESIDENTS

Two types of modifications will be tested as part of this pilot, Rubber Weighted Wheels and Lid Latches. Residents will be assigned either wheels or latches, or both. Residents will not be able to change modifications during the pilot.

Once you have been approved and contacted, please place your blue cart out as normal on your next collection day and City staff will be by later that day to install the modification(s) to your cart. If you are registered as a pilot participant and your cart was not modified on your next collection, please wait until the following day to call 311 to notify City staff. Once your cart has been modified, residents will still contact 311 for missed collections and any lost or stolen carts. If you have an issue related to the cart modification, such as a broken or missing latch, contact 311 so that a technician can resolve the problem. Please do not make adjustments to the installed modifications. All other concerns and suggestions should be submitted as part of your surveys.

SURVEYS

Surveys will be issued to all pilot residents midway through the program and after it has concluded. The goal of the surveys is to gather user experiences and get details on any issues residents might have had. While your email address will be required to submit your surveys, no personal information will be attached to the data collected or presented at the end of the program.

An email detailing further information will be sent out prior to the surveys becoming available. Links to each survey will also be listed below once they are open. All surveys will be completed online and residents will be given 1-month to complete each survey. If you require assistance filling out your survey, please call 311.

WEIGHTED RUBBER WHEELS

This modification includes exchanging the existing plastic wheels with weighted rubber wheels, which increases the overall weight of the cart, toward the base, by approximately 20 %, without compromising cart integrity. Weighed wheels with the additional traction of rubber, will assist in keeping the cart in-place and prevent the cart from twisting and rolling away.

LID LATCHES

A simple rubber latch is installed by drilling a hole in the cart lid. Once secured it prevents the lids form opening until the cart is tipped by the collection vehicle. This also prevents the lid from acting like a 'sail' during wind events. Please keep the lid latched closed until collection to prevent the recyclables from blowing out.

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