Birmingham City Council approves agreement for uniform trash bins

An example of side loader truck and uniform trash bins

On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council unanimously approved an item that will fundamentally reshape and improve the way trash collection works across the city. The item for roughly $6.5 million includes 100,000 uniform trash bins that will be distributed to households and will allow for a more streamlined collection process.

The 96-gallon bins will be outfitted with GPS tracking (for theft prevention) and will be distributed in phases, with the first batch of 25,000 bins being deployed in the next 6 to 8 weeks. This is the first step in the City reworking the way trash is collected.

Eventually, once the large uniform bins are deployed and the new trucks are in operation, the City will be moving to a schedule of collecting trash once a week, a move that will pay dividends over the years through cost savings. Currently there are 26 routes across the city that crews collect twice a week. This will eventually be streamlined and significantly reduce fuel costs.

“I’ve had some residents who were part of the pilot program with this and they had nothing but good things to say about how it’s worked for them,” Councilor Valerie Abbott said. “One of them even told me that they have not yet filled up the bins despite them only coming once a week.”

The 96-gallon bins can hold roughly 6 large bags of trash. However, Council President Pro Tem Crystal Smitherman also pointed out that she is working on an ordinance that will prohibit people from leaving loose bags on top or beside the bins.

“We found out that we don’t have an ordinance on the books that prohibits people from leaving loose bags of trash out for pick up,” Smitherman said. “We’re working on an educational campaign to help people understand how trash collection works and all the ordinances we have to help prevent illegal dumping and things of that nature. Perhaps most importantly, we’re going to do all we can to help educate people on this new process with the uniform bins because we understand there will be some adjustments to make for families.”

Smitherman also noted that code enforcement is a big part of this, and is something that many residents would like to see bolstered. “I’m very excited about this, it’s something we’ve been working on for a while — making sure our code enforcement has some teeth. This new trash collection process will be great for our city. A lot of people might not be able to afford trash bins of this size so it’s going to go a long way towards helping to keep our neighborhoods clean once they are deployed.”

Councilor Darrell O’Quinn pointed out that there is a program already in place to help residents who might need assistance with their bins.

“A 96-gallon bin can be unwieldy. Right now, the Department of Public Works has a program that you can apply for,” O’Quinn said. “If you have a physical challenge and can’t roll a huge bin down to the curb, you can apply for Public Works to do that for you. So I would encourage residents to look into that.”

Here is the item as it appeared on Tuesday’s agenda:

ITEM 8. A Resolution, pursuant to §11–40–1 et. seq., and §41–16–51(a)(16), Code of Alabama 1975, authorizing the Mayor to execute and deliver an agreement with Toter, LLC, in an amount not to exceed $6,030,000.00 for the provision of 100,000 Toter 96 Gallon EVR II Universal/Nestable Carts and accessory parts, and up to $526,002.25 for the provision of assembly, distribution and related services for a total amount not to exceed up to $6,556,002.25 to provide goods and services, which are being purchased in accordance with the terms of the Sourcewell Contract #041521-TOT. [G/L Account: 102_000.525–010] (Submitted by the City Attorney) (Recommended by the Mayor and the Budget and Finance Committee)**

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