Underground trash collection system coming to downtown Raleigh

May 28, 2019

Installation of an underground waste collection system was underway in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday.

According to a release issued by the city, the new initiative will keep sidewalks clean and clear of dumpsters while saving time, space and money.

City officials said the underground system is a good fit for crowded downtown and urban areas, as many of Raleigh’s oldest streets were built without alleys, causing recycling carts and trash cans to litter sidewalks on a daily basis.

“It’s very exciting for us that Raleigh is the first city in the country to adopt this underground storage model,” said Solid Waste Services Director Stan Joseph. “It’s a simple concept using innovative technology. The bottom line is that we want to improve quality of life — and part of that is getting garbage carts off the sidewalks and away from neighbors and visitors enjoying downtown.”

Installation of the new underground containers began at the corner of Wilmington Street and Hargett Street on Tuesday. Six new containers will be used to collect trash, mixed recycling and cardboard.

The current trash collection system in downtown Raleigh involves city crews picking up rolling blue carts of trash twice a day most of the week and once on Sunday.

Businesses pull the carts to the curb each day to allow for the collection and then remove them after pick-up. This causes extra work for businesses and a nuisance for pedestrians during collection time, officials said.

According to city officials, each new underground container will hold the equivalent of 20 blue carts of trash.

The city shared a link to a YouTube video that shows how the underground bins work. “This should greatly reduce the overall amount of time our trucks spend on the street, a benefit for cars, pedestrians, and our downtown crew’s safety,” Joseph said.

A completion date for the project was not released.

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