News Flash

City Manager Report

Posted on: March 21, 2021

When Winds Blows, Make Sure Trash is Bagged

LCU Windy Trash Bin

By Cassie McClure

It’s that time of year that stirs up dust in the Rio Grande Valley, but the spring winds also capture stray trash, particularly if it’s not bagged.

Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) reminds residents to please bag trash, not just because of the windy season, but to keep Las Cruces beautiful.

Loose trash in your bin easily falls out when it gets picked up by the automated trash trucks, not only littering the street and neighbors' yards. It also has the potential to land on the truck, which can become a safety hazard. When the wind is blowing, trash will immediately be swept away, down the street making neighborhoods look unsightly.

“If you think of what ends up in the trash during the week -  paper towels, discarded mail, rotting food – imagine what could happen if that ends up getting spilled on the road just because it wasn’t in a bag or it wasn’t tied,” said Robin Lawrence, deputy director Solid Waste.

“Drivers will get out and collect bagged trash that may fall out of the container during collection,” added Lawrence. “However, if the container has loose trash that falls out of the container, the driver is not required to collect it, especially if it’s blowing 35 mph down the road. We don’t have brooms, bags, or shovels on our trucks to clean up loose trash that may spill.” 

Loose trash is hard to keep contained during dumping and transportation and slows down drivers’ ability to make their rounds at their average speed. Loose trash and light debris may get blown from the hopper area of the collection trucks as it doesn’t pack as well as if it were bagged. There’s also less chance for liquids to leak from the truck.

Lawrence also explained there are other practical values for when the trash is still in the bin at your home. She said, “Unbagged trash makes containers smellier and dirtier than if the trash were in a bag. Loose trash has the potential to attract stray animals and invites other insects and rodents to your neighborhood. 

“Bagged trash is nicer, cleaner, and easier to handle than loose trash. We strive to keep Las Cruces beautiful, and bagging and tying your trash is an essential step in the right direction.” 

Other trash tips include:

- Don’t overstuff a trash container. Make sure the trash container lid closes, and that long items – such as long branches – don’t stick out.

- Keep the trash container five feet from cars, trees, and other obstructions when placing it on the street. That allows the truck to access it easier.

- Recyclables in the blue bin remain unbagged, but those items should all be clean and dry – like spare Amazon boxes and empty water bottles.

Las Cruces Utilities can be reached at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.

PHOTO CAPTION:

LCU reminds residents to bag their trash in their brown container. With heavy spring winds across Las Cruces, unbagged trash can drop from a stuffed container during pick up and whirl around the neighborhood.

Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Sun-News.

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