Mount Pleasant may change its garbage/yard waste collection

MOUNT PLEASANT - The town soon may go back to picking up household garbage, debris and yard waste on the same day, after a high-tech effort to make these curbside collections more efficiently went as far as it could go.

Like most Lowcountry towns, Mount Pleasant has different crews emptying garbage cans and picking up grass clippings, tree limbs and larger trash.

Several years ago, the town outfitted its garbage trucks with new GPS technology to map which streets had debris and yard waste set out for collection, an attempt to try to collect more efficiently and save the town money.

Mayor Linda Page said the idea was that garbage crews would plug in the streets where they saw yard waste and debris and let the next day's crew know where they had to work, but many residents waited until the following day to put out their yard waste, throwing that system off.

"Instead of finding one (pile), they were finding five," she said.

Town Administrator Eric DeMoura said the town has stopped using that technology, and the town's collection already is as efficient as it will get.

Town Council's Public Services Committee met Monday and discussed changing collections back to a single collection day, as is done in Charleston and other cities.

A decision is expected soon after Town Council's Jan. 21 retreat, where council members are expected to discuss the changing demands of garbage collection and other services caused by continued growth.

Town Councilman Chris Nickels said the change back to same-day collections would be a "huge deal."

He said most of Town Council's actions affect only a handful or perhaps 100 residents, "but this affects every single door in this town."

Consolidating all town pickups on a single day could reduce the visual clutter in neighborhoods, and while many cities have rules as far as how far in advance garbage and yard waste can be set out, "people don't exactly follow the rules," he added.

Page said the town also is looking at how public service crews can help monitor the town's elderly residents. "We have an aging population. They (public service crews) see things. They know whose can doesn't get to the street," she said.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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