Hampton tries new system for trash collection catch up

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Along with snow, garbage piled up in Hampton Roads over the last two weeks as winter storms delayed trash collection routes.

In Hampton, garbage trucks had trouble navigating unplowed residential streets, which meant crews got even further behind schedule. City workers came up with a unique solution: use bigger, heavier trucks equipped with what’s called a knuckle-boom crane to scoop up piles of trash.

The solution first involves dumping trash from bins into the street. Then the claw-like crane can pick it up. The idea doesn’t sit well with everyone.

“We have a lot of overflowing trash cans, and I shudder to think what it’s going to look like after all that stuff gets dumped in the street,” Hampton resident Judy Carey said.

Tim Tuggle said city crews picked up branches and bigger debris outside his home using the crane before, and left plenty behind. He’s worried the same thing will happen now.

“They’re going to pick it up with a claw, bags are going to rip open, and stuff’s going to be flying everywhere anyway,” he said.

Six-person crews travel on the bigger trucks, using shovels to pick up anything the crane leaves behind. City spokeswoman Robin McCormick acknowledges they will probably miss some pieces, but overflowing trash cans had already created a problem.

“We already had complaints of loose trash,” she said. “So our thought was, we’re not going to make it any worse. It might not be perfect, but it’s an improvement over what’s out there.”

Regular garbage trucks are also going out to neighborhoods they can reach, and in some neighborhoods, workers are dumping individual bins into larger collector containers for trucks to pick up.

Workers will continue collecting trash on Saturday and into Sunday, if they’re not finished. McCormick said they should be back to normal routes Monday.

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