Automated trash system turns messy

Residents warn those in other neighborhoods to get more bins

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When it comes to trash, Jacksonville is trying to become an automated city, doing away with garbage men and doing it all automatically.

The plan now is to expand the system to more than 70,000 more homes in Mandarin and the Southside.

But some residents who live where automatic trash pickup now takes place say to watch out because more neighborhoods might end up being trashed.

In Arlington, the program has been in effect for about six months. Residents there say it's not really working because the extra trash is left lying around.

Gigi Dougherty isn't a fan of the automated trash pickup. While it may be convenient for haulers to take away garbage and recyclables, Dougherty said it's not convenient for her.

"I really don't like it because as the simple fact as you can see over here and over there -- that when you have extra, you have nowhere to put it. None," she said. "Because they will not pick it up if it is not in the automatic bin."

It's something that's affecting many Arlington neighborhoods -- not only extra trash, but big bulky items that have been left out. They are supposed to be tagged and picked up by the city, but residents say that rarely happens.

"If they don't pick it up, it does not do any good," Gary Bohannon said. "What happens? What do you see? It's just like that right there across the street. It just sits there and maybe someone that comes along and needs the metal and hauls it off."

It makes it look trashy, and we really worked hard to make our neighborhood clean," Dougherty said. "So it just sits there until someone puts it in the automatic, and it looks terrible."

It's not just in Arlington, but also on the Northside. Residents are not blaming the hauler but the people leaving the trash out of the bins and the city for not cracking down on them.

The city says the new programs require everything to be put into the new bins. If residents routinely finds the bins are not big enough, they can purchase another for $65. For other items, residents can call for a special pickup.

For those neighborhoods in Mandarin and the Southside getting the service in September, here is some advice from one current customer:

"You better buy some extra bins because that is the only way they are going to pick it up is in the bin," Dougherty said. "Otherwise your neighborhood is going to look like this."

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