There are many reasons the City of Minot is switching to an automated system, including:
Worker safety. Sanitation crews will no longer be subjected to the harsh elements of North Dakota’s weather, and the automated system will greatly reduce the number of on-the-job injuries to workers. Under the current system, crew members face a number of potential injuries, including slips, trips, falls, hazardous chemicals, and scrapes and cuts from broken glass, needles, and nails. Nationally, solid waste and recycling collection workers are three times more likely to be killed on the job than fire fighters and policemen, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sanitation claims account for 22 percent of Workforce Safety and Insurance claims, although sanitation employees account for only 4 percent of the workforce.
Efficiency. Sanitation crews will be doing the same amount of work or more with fewer people, which will save the City of Minot money in the long term. The basic $16.22 monthly fee for sanitation services in 2017 would have been approximately the same regardless of whether or not the City transitioned to automated sanitation pickup.
Cleanliness: With household garbage being contained in the new carts, there will be less debris blowing around the city, and there will no longer be unsightly piles of garbage sitting on the curb. In addition, animals will no longer be able to tear open bags of trash. The new containers are also built to be resistant to tipping over in windy conditions, reducing the amount of trash being blown around by the wind.
This is the first step for the City of Minot to provide curbside recycling. The City will now have the trucks necessary to implement a curbside recycling collection program in the future.