Lexington will try out one-side-of-the-street trash collection

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Cities in Florida, Colorado and Washington do it. Now Lexington will give one-side-of-the-street garbage collection a try.

"It's not made to do citywide," Lexington Assistant City Manager Terra Greene said. "But there are certain neighborhoods that are just made for it."

One of those ideal neighborhoods is Glenwood. At a recent community watch meeting, a homeowner suggested the city give the program a try. As it turns out, Lexington was currently studying one-side-of-the-street trash collection. Since other Glenwood homeowners were supportive of the program, the neighborhood will give the new collection system a try in April. All the trash cans in Glenwood will be lined up on one side of the street. Then Lexington garbage collectors will make one pass along the street instead of two. Greene believes one-side-of-the-street collection will benefit the Glenwood community and Lexington's budget.

"It's going to save fuel, save carbon emissions as a green initiative," Greene explained. "Also heavy equipment on city streets is one of the most damaging things long term."

Glenwood neighbor Earl Willette likes the money-saving part. But as an older homeowner that uses a wheelchair, he questions if the city will save time when they have to stop, cross the street, and pick up his trash.

"To me that doesn't make a lot of sense," Willette said. "Because if you are going to make it more complicated for people like me, there are going to be more people asking for special pickup."

But Greene is confident that the pilot program will take off.

"It's going to put cost cutting measures back into your pocket," Greene said. "We are not in the business to make money. We are in the business of providing services at the lowest cost denominator."

Lexington administrators cite Olympia, Washington, as a successful example of one-side-of-the-street trash collection. Olympia collection time has dropped by 20 percent. Trash trucks reduced their driving miles by 40 percent. And since the trucks are dropping their miles, they are using less gas.

In Lexington, Glenwood homeowners that are not able to push their trash cans to the designated side of the street can apply to the city for special trash pick up.