Monday, January 4, 2010

Two Ideas to Start The New Year

At this afternoon's Environment Committee meeting (pdf agenda) I'll be brining forward two ideas that I'd like to see tried in Grande Prairie. One is a water saving idea and the second could help keep a lid on over flowing trash bins that dirty our city. Both products come from a company I first encountered at the AUMA convention tradeshow.

Water Saving - I love the hanging flower baskets down town in the summer. They add a lot of life to our streetscape and I look forward to them going up every year. One thing I've noticed though is that maintaining them takes a huge amount of time and seems to waste a lot of water. Each day a city truck drives around to spray each basket with water. Unfortunately not all the water makes into the baskets and ends up watering the sidewalk below, quite a bit drains through the mossy bottom of the basket. I kept thinking that there has to be a better way that would take less time and waste less water. Turns out there might just be...
These planters from ALFA have a solid bottom and a built in water reservoir that eliminates the need for daily watering. I imagine that the savings in staff time of not having to water every day could pay for the planters in just a couple of seasons - and we'd stop wasting water!

Litter Bins - There are some spots in the city where regular litter bins just aren't cutting it. The two situations I'm thinking of are were bins are in remote locations and not picked up very often (like on the trails in Muskoseepi) and in places where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic that generates a lot of litter. In either situation the bins fill up to over flowing before being emptied out and after that excess trash gets blown around and makes a mess of the city. Some spots are particularly bad for this, the first that comes to mind is the west parking lot at the leisure centre.

This In-Ground Waste system is basically a 6 or 7 foot tall litter bin, where the majority is buried below ground. Being as big as they are they can handle a lot of trash before needing to be emptied. In remote locations maybe they'd only need to be emptied once or twice a year and in the high volume locations they could probably make it a week or two.

This afternoon I'll be making a motion at the environment committee to ask staff to evaluate at each system. I'd like to see staff provide a report evaluating potential cost savings and a plan on how we could run test projects for each idea.

What do you think - good ideas?


Bungalow'56 said...

Thanks for the Shout Out Bill, and Thanks again for the course. It was just what the Blog Doctor ordered. Even my 14 year old is impressed with her mom's new computer skills!
Take care,

Anonymous said...

That trash can looks like a pain in the butt to empty. Do you hold one guy by the ankles to reach the bottom? How about one of these?

Bill Given said...

To Anon:

We actually have a solar trash compactor downtown - I'm not sure if it's Big Belly or not but it's there in front of Al's News.

As for emptying the one I showed - yep, it's more involved than a standard trash bin but no you don't have to hang anyone by the ankles to do it. The bin has a system that lifts the whole extra large bag up via a bottom platform. (that's a bad description)

Basically you need 1 guy and a truck with a winch arm at the back to hoist it up.

Anonymous said...

I think the flower pots are a good idea. Less need for watering can free up staff for other purposes

Carol Bromley Meeres said...

That trash collector on 100th Ave by 214 Place where the bag always blows out could really use some improvement....

Anonymous said...

You had to know I'd weigh in on this one Bill! Two great ideas, and I'm especially happy about the trash compactor idea. I think people are actually trying to put trash where it belongs, but I have made note of the garbage receptacles outside of business recently, and they are almost always overflowing with garbage placed on top of cans, which inevitably winds up flying down the street. I think a pilot is worth doing, and businesses need to be made more accountable for emptying their garbage cans more regularly so people can use them. Another side to the coin.

I am wondering how a solar trash compactor works here in the winter? Interesting.... Keep us posted Bill.


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