Refuse truck drivers reporting numerous violations of collection ordinance

[Submitted/City of Muscatine]

Muscatine refuse truck drivers would like residents to know that there is a right way and a wrong way to place their bins curbside, and what can and cannot be placed in the bins for collection.

 “We are seeing a lot of contaminants in the recycling container, refuse and recycling carts that are too full, and carts placed too close to poles, cars, mail boxes, and other carts,” David Popp, Solid Waste Manager for the City of Muscatine, said. We are also seeing carts that are facing the wrong way.”

Another problem is loose trash being placed into the refuse and recycling bins prior to collection.

“When the trucks dump the bins, loose trash will invariably be blown away from the trucks and back onto residents’ yards,” Popp said. “That would not happen if the trash was contained in plastic or paper bags when placed in the bins, and the carts were not overfilled.”

Refuse and recycling bins are to be placed curbside for City collection no later than 5 a.m. the day of collection nor no earlier than 4 p.m. the day before collection. The bins are to be placed with three-feet between them, and three-feet between the bins and any poles, cars, or mail boxes.

The placement rules are for the safety of the resident’s property.

“The trucks that we use for most residential collections have an arm that extends out to lift the bin up, dump the contents into the truck, and then return the bin to its original position,” Popp said. “If a bin is too close to an obstacle it makes it very difficult for the operator to reach out and snag the bin to lift it and place it back.”

Popp also noted that it is important that the resident place the bin(s) with the handle away from the street.

The trucks that utilize the extended arm to pick up the bins usually have just one operator and leaving the truck to reset a bin so that it can be picked up while the truck is running is not permitted by the safety protocols.

To prepare refuse for collection, garbage should be thoroughly drained and wrapped or placed into appropriate trash bags or containers before being placed into a bin. Recycling material for collection should also be cleaned before being placed in the recycling bin.

Household hazardous waste not permitted to be placed into refuse or recycling containers include toxic and/or corrosive products (e.g., oil based paints, insecticides, thinners, solvents, cleaners, turpentine, furniture stripper, nail polish remover, rechargeable batteries, etc.).

Household hazardous materials can be defined as household products that contain one or more of the following characteristics: capable of being easily set on fire; capable of burning or destroying living tissues and materials by means of a chemical reaction; capable of exploding if exposed to heat or extreme pressure; may react violently when exposed to incompatible materials; and the ability to cause severe injury or death in inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

City of Muscatine residents and Louisa County residents can dispose of their household hazardous waste at the Muscatine Transfer Station for no cost during regular business hours. A list of items that are accepted and items that are not accepted can be found at Household Hazardous Waste on the City of Muscatine web site.

A photo visual of what drivers see:

For a list of items collected, view the recycling guide (PDF).

Hablo Espanol? – View Spanish version of the recycling guide (PDF).