Delivery of new trash carts in Princeton underway

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PHOTO BY LEA KHAN/STAFF

The delivery of new trash carts as part of Princeton’s automated and semi-automated trash collection system is underway.

Interstate Waste Services is providing one 64-gallon trash cart to each household. A smaller trash cart is available for households that do not need the larger cart, officials said.

The delivery began Feb. 13 and will continue to be delivered to households through the end of February, officials said. The carts were expected to be delivered in mid-January, but there was a delay because of manufacturing issues.

The new trash collection system took effect Feb. 1.

It is not necessary for residents to be at home when the 64-gallon trash carts are delivered. Until residents receive their new trash cart, they may use their current trash cans, bins and receptacles to put out their trash.

Disposal of the old trash cans, bins and receptacles is optional, officials said. Residents may use them for other purposes, or they may dispose of them. The trash hauler will take them away during the week of March 13, if the resident tapes a note that says “trash” on them and puts them out on trash collection day.

The new trash carts are designed to work with the automated and semi-automated trash collection system used by Interstate Waste Services of New Jersey. The trash collection truck is fitted with a mechanical arm operated by the driver. The mechanical arm picks up the trash cart and dumps the contents into the truck.

In neighborhoods where cars are not parked on the street, the truck is staffed by only a driver. The driver operates the mechanical arm from the truck to pick up the trash cart and empty its contents into the truck.

In some neighborhoods where cars are parked on the street, it is a semi-automated system. The truck is staffed by a driver and a worker. The worker gets out of the trash collection truck to roll the trash cart over to the mechanical arm.

Only trash that is placed inside the cart will be collected. Trash that is left outside of the cart in bags will not be collected. Bulky items also will not be collected on trash collection day.

Residents who have bulky items to dispose of, such as furniture and mattresses, must make a reservation for an Interstate Waste Services truck to collect them. They will be picked up on Wednesday.

The Princeton Council awarded a five-year contract for $7.1 million to Interstate Waste Services in November 2022. The new contract seeks to contain costs, officials said.

The costs of new trash-hauling contracts have increased by 45% to as much as 150% in other towns, officials said. The COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages and increases in fuel costs have contributed to the price hikes, they said.