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Bergenfield Gets Money Saving Automatic Garbage Trucks

The truck's arm does all the lifting. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Borough of Bergenfield
Each truck has only a single operator. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Borough of Bergenfield

BERGENFIELD, N.J. -- Bergenfield is throwing out the old way of collecting garbage.

The borough has purchased two automatic garbage trucks staffed by a single operator each instead of the usual three.

The driver operates an arm on the side of the truck that lifts cans and bins and dumps their contents into the bed before setting them back down on the curb.

"There’s a lot of dollar savings involved,” said Bergenfield Councilman Charlie Steinel, who originally brought the idea to the town council five years ago. “It’s an expense to get it started, but once we get it started we’re hoping to save enough money in doing this that it has an impact on the budget.”

More than a third of the town’s full-time Department of Public Works employees spend their days on the streets collecting garbage, Steinel said.

With the new trucks, the town can reallocate that manpower to other areas that Bergenfield has previously subcontracted out -- manhole repairs and sprinkler maintenance in parks, for instance.

DPW employees will spend March training with the new trucks, which should be rolled out into Quadrant 3 by April.

Borough officials plan to buy two more trucks this year through a bond ordinance.

Automated pickup should be rolled out throughout Bergenfield by the end of 2016, Steinel said.

Residents will receive 90-gallon trash barrels than can hold up to 300 pounds of trash. Smaller cans will be available for residents who think they’ll have problems maneuvering the bins curbside.

The program will eventually be expanded to include recycling as well.

“We want to be able to use these trucks to their fullest capacity,” Steinel said.

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