SOUTH FAYETTE, Pa. -
A new way to pick up recyclables has been popping up around western Pennsylvania, with South Fayette the latest township to roll out the program.
Mark Moninger, a recycling truck driver in the community, said a new fleet of trucks is making his job much more efficient.
“It's definitely easier on the body,” he said.
The “claw” is an automated truck that allows Moninger to pick up thousands of recycling bins a day with just the tilt of a joystick.
South Fayette contract with Waste Management for curbside service, and late last month, four of the natural gas trucks hit the streets for the first time. The goal is to help their drivers, the environment and the township’s bottom line.
“We expect that the automated recycling will be more cost efficient in the long term,” South Fayette Community Development Director Andrea Iglar said.
South Fayette joins Peters Township, Upper St. Clair, Scott Township and Robinson Township in using the technology.
“The other four boroughs that we did was a 31.5 percent increase. That's less trash in landfill(s),” Gene Wapiennik, district manager of Washington.
Moninger said it all revolves around the convenience of the township-issued 46-gallon bins. They’re bigger and sturdier than the average can, so residents are recycling more items.
Officials said they hope their environmentally friendly success can also lead to new grant money.
But in order for the “claw” to maneuver safely, residents must follow two rules. First, the bin must be 3 feet away from a resident’s mailbox or any other items, such as a trash can. Second, the bin must face toward the street.
Moninger promised, though, that if there’s a chance the claw could damage a homeowner’s property, truck drivers would get out and collect the recyclables by hand.
“There's a lot of risk to taking his mailbox off, so I'll just move it,” he said.
South Fayette officials said they hope to eventually use the automated trucks for trash pick-up, too.