Trash Compactor Headache Continues for Downtown Roanoke Business - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Trash Compactor Headache Continues for Downtown Roanoke Business

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If you walk down downtown Roanoke, you may notice there's no more trash lining the streets, but the haul to get the trash to new compactor is causing some problems.

New cell phone video shows problems persist with the new trash compactor: it was filled to the brim Saturday night and employees couldn't dump their trash.

We checked with Roanoke's Solid Waste Management to see why so many employees were walking away upset this weekend.

Billy Basham calls Saturday "the perfect storm of things that just went wrong." He says employees weren't properly using the compactor and not pushing bags all the way in so the door would shut.

He also says those bagging the trash need to make sure they are sealing the trash bag completely shut. He says that's the reason for so many spills and broken bottles on the ground.

Some employees who are dragging trash a few blocks to get to the compactor aren't happy.

"We're all over 60, some bad knees, and some bad backs," Antique Blue employee Barbara Bailey says. "We're a good distance away and we have a lot of cardboard to recycle and it gets pretty windy during winter time."

City leaders, like Basham, say they know the system isn't perfect.

"This is a learning curve, not just for downtown residents and businesses, but it's a learning curve for us as well," Basham says. "This is our first one. So we all recognize that we can learn and we grow."

Skip Decker with Solid Waste Management also encourages businesses to look at the amount of money being saved through recycling. He says his employees have to come downtown four to five times a day to pick up recycling, where they used to only come down once. Plus, it reduces costs for the city. Instead of paying $47 a load to dump trash, recycling is only $19 a load.

He says plans are in the works for the 911 call center to add to its non-emergency calls a way to contact Solid Waste Management, in case another problem like Saturday happens again.

City workers will be at the trash compactor Monday through Friday this week, from 6-11 p.m. to help teach more downtown employees how to properly use the compactor.