Last updated: January 29. 2014 11:33PM - 2899 Views
By James O’Malley Times Leader Intern

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton on Wednesday announces a new DPW garbage and recycling schedule at a morning news conference.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton on Wednesday announces a new DPW garbage and recycling schedule at a morning news conference.
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WILKES-BARRE — Mayor Tom Leighton unveiled changes to the city of Wilkes-Barre’s garbage and recycling collection, including a new five-day pickup schedule, at a news conference Wednesday.

Beginning Monday, the Department of Public Works will consolidate collection of waste and recyclables and perform weekly removal of all collectible items.

“Most of our residents will be unaffected by the change in the schedule,” Leighton said. “They’ll simply place their recyclables curbside on their garbage day.”

Currently, recyclables are collected every other Monday. The mayor said the new schedule will be more convenient for the city’s citizens because it adds almost 20 recycling pick-up days per year, and he thinks workers will share in the benefits as well.

“More frequent pickups will translate into lighter loads,” said the mayor.

He also announced a Monday pickup zone to envelope the downtown area and sections of South Wilkes-Barre. City workers will be hanging cards on the doors of affected homes today and Friday to notify residents of the change.

Still, he said the city anticipates some difficulties.

“It’s a new plan, and as with anything new there’s bound to be a learning curve,” said Leighton. He said the city is prepared to answer any questions residents may have and has asked for patience during the schedule’s roll-out.

Despite potential challenges, the mayor said he believes the changes will prove beneficial, increasing efficiency and the amount of material recycled. The new schedule should also save money by reducing the number of overtime hours worked by public employees.

By improving how efficiently Wilkes-Barre recycles, Leighton also hopes to increase the amount the city recycles.

The mayor referenced last year’s switch to single-stream recycling, in which all recyclable materials are collected at once instead of on separate days, and the 26 percent increase in collected material he says the initiative produced. Leighton projected a 35 percent increase for 2014.

The city receives revenue from the state Department of Environmental Protection when it delivers recyclable material, but the exact figures were not available.

Modifications to the new schedule can be found on the city calendar, which can be viewed or printed from city’s website.

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