Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Study Points To Garbage, Recycling Trucks As Source Of Litter

Date:
March 6, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Residents in search of neighborhood litterbugs may need to look no further than the garbage and recycling trucks that pick up their garbage -- as well as their own sloppy handling of household waste, according to a University of Florida study.

Writer: Aaron Hoover

Sources: Stephen Bissonnette, (352) 392-6264, stephenj@ufl.edu; John Schert, jschert@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Residents in search of neighborhood litterbugs may need to look no further than the garbage and recycling trucks that pick up their garbage -- as well as their own sloppy handling of household waste, according to a University of Florida study.

The root of the problem may be the automated garbage trucks that are proving increasingly popular statewide and nationally, said John Schert, director of the UF center that conducted the study, the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management at the UF College of Engineering. Although the trucks reduce labor costs and injuries to garbage workers, they often result in more litter because they tend to have a sole driver/operator who may not see and respond when pickups result in litter, Schert said.

"I think that in general, the men on the back of the truck were cleaner, but the labor costs were higher and there were more injuries to the workforce, especially back and ankle sprains," he said. "The waste management industry is trying to respond by redesigning newer trucks that spill less litter when the trucks empty the cans using the automated arm."

The first phase of the ongoing study found that the amount of litter in a Gainesville subdivision substantially increased after garbage and recycling trucks made their rounds on garbage pickup day. On some weeks, the amount of loose paper, packaging, bags, cups and other litter more than doubled after the trucks came through, the study found.

"Our major conclusions are that people are fairly sloppy in the way they put out their garbage, but also that lots of litter is spilled when the cans are emptied and the recyclables are picked up, and that lots of litter comes out of garbage and recycling trucks," Schert said.

Bubba Bussard, district manager of Boone Waste Management, the company that collects garbage in Gainesville, attributed part of the problem to old garbage and recycling trucks, which he said the company had largely replaced with cleaner models since the study was conducted. "We're pretty aware of how the litter problem has been," he said, adding that the company had spent a total of $5 million replacing the old trucks.

But Bussard added that some blame also may rest with residents.

When residents overfill containers or fail to bag their garbage, the frequent result is that some items escape when the truck picks up the garbage, Bussard said.

"One of the biggest litter problems is loose Styrofoam packaging ‘peanuts,'" he said. "If people don't bag those, I don't care what kind of equipment you have, if you tip the trash container, they are going to get out."

The study focused on a middle-class subdivision consisting of slightly more than100 homes. The main researcher was Stephen Bissonnette, a UF graduate student and an research assistant at the Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.

Canvassing the neighborhood on a bicycle, Bissonnette counted and collected all litter larger than 4 square inches on the street and right of way on the morning of trash day before the garbage and recycling trucks arrived. He made similar forays after the recycling truck made its rounds and after the garbage truck came through the neighborhood.

The amount of litter varied considerably from week to week during the study, which lasted from last March through June. But after 15 weeks Bissonnette's records showed he had collected a total of 229 pieces of litter before the garbage trucks arrived -- litter that had been accumulating for a week since his last collection. In his post recycling truck rounds, he collected an additional 108 pieces of litter. The garbage truck, meanwhile, left behind 283 pieces of litter, meaning the litter after the trucks did their pickups totaled 391 pieces.

"There was more litter after the garbage and recycling trucks than there was from the whole week before they came through," Bissonnette said.

Schert said the center plans to broaden the results of the study and collect additional data in more neighborhoods over different seasons, as well as do a larger project aimed at scrutinizing the litter problem resulting from commercial trash pick up.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "UF Study Points To Garbage, Recycling Trucks As Source Of Litter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000303092547.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2000, March 6). UF Study Points To Garbage, Recycling Trucks As Source Of Litter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000303092547.htm
University Of Florida. "UF Study Points To Garbage, Recycling Trucks As Source Of Litter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000303092547.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins