Waste Management has rolled out new software that enables drivers to photograph the contents inside trash containers during their routine collection.
The trucks are equipped with geo-
tagging cameras that have Global Positioning System capabilities that will be able to track people that are not sorting their trash and recyclables correctly.
Two years ago Waste Management unveiled its ‘Recycle Right or Lose the Right” program, which was meant to educate customers on sorting trash.
Since launching the program, Waste Management has charged customers who have been contaminating and overloading their trash containers.
Prior to installing cameras, Waste Management drivers used a system that connected to a tablet but required drivers to stop and take pictures of canisters, which slowed down the time they spent on their routes.
By overhauling that program and adding cameras to trucks, drivers can maintain their scheduled hours and their routes without having to stop and take pictures of containers.
More recently, Waste Management is seen a rise in the overflow of containers, according to Joe Cadelago, a community relations manager at Waste Management.
“Right now a lot of our concern is spill-out from commercial properties. We are working with code enforcement to educate customers on the right size containers for their businesses, but we are seeing routes where garbage is littering the street,” Cadelago said.
The biggest offenders are commercial properties, but illegal dumping has complicated the issue.
“We work with code enforcement, law enforcement, and the business owners, but there is not much we can do except report the places that are known to have illegal dumping," Cadelago said.
Unless businesses install cameras there is not a way to track illegal dumpers. Illegal dumping, which has caused a safety concern for truck drivers that have to carry the extra weight.
“When canisters are overflowing, that means the trucks overflow as well, and this becomes a safety issue because we have had trucks catch on fire due to overfill,” said Cadelago, explaining that trucks can catch on fire when the trash compactor is suppressed under the weight of the trash.
“When containers overflow we send out notices to business or residents and give them the information to our customer service department, so they can order larger bins, which helps us to determine how much waste is to be collected,” Cadelago said.
Overfill is not the only reason Waste Management has added cameras to trucks.
“In terms of contamination, we regularly send messages to customers about what is acceptable and what is not,” communications specialist Paul Rosynsky said.
In one incident, a resident placed five dead goats in their recycling container, according to Rosynsky.
“People are throwing away chemical contaminants and biohazardous waste,” Cadelago said. “Those contaminants cannot be thrown out in regular trash bins.”
Another major concern for Waste Management has been the use of plastic bags to bundle recycling. Rosynsky stated that customers have been encouraged to loosely place their recyclables in their containers.
Waste Management is hoping that the use of cameras will help pinpoint and reduce both container spill-out and contamination. You can learn more about the cameras and how to filter your trash correctly on the Waste Management website at www.sanjoaquinvalley. wm.com.