The city will start delivering new garbage cans to city residents at the end of the month as part of a new automated garbage collection program.

In a press release issued Thursday, Mayor Ben Blake said each household with city garbage pickup will receive a 96-gallon, charcoal black colored garbage collection container referred to as a “tote.” Residents can, however, request a 48-gallon tote.

These containers will be distributed to residents over a four-week period starting the end of September.  

The Department of Public Works will begin collecting garbage in these new totes starting the week of Oct. 31. The totes are city property and are assigned to each household using an individual serial number that corresponds to the specific address. The charcoal black tote can only be used for garbage and is the only container that can be used to place garbage at the curb, city officials said.

“Any household garbage that does not fit in the tote may be brought to the transfer station during regular hours of operation,” the mayor’s press release states.

Pickups for the automated garbage collection program will remain once per week on the same day as each resident’s regular collection day. Recycling and bulk trash services will not change in any way due to this program.

According to Mayor Ben Blake, “[T]his new program will reduce the amount spent on garbage collection, improve employee safety, and provide residents with a clean, convenient and attractive way to dispose of household garbage.”

(Check back later for more on this story. For now, following are some questions and answers included in the mayor’s press release.)

Will a 96-gallon container be sufficient and may I request a smaller size?

Experience and research have shown that the 96-gallon tote distributed to residents should handle all reasonable household garbage needs. For those households that wish to use a container smaller than 96-gallons, a 48-gallon tote may be requested by contacting Public Works at 203-701-4690 or NewGarbageBins@ci.milford.ct.us  Please know that Milford’s Public Works will not empty a privately purchased tote or any other curbside container or bags not supplied by the City – no exceptions.  

Where do I place my tote on collection days?

Always place the tote at the curb or where the pavement begins.  The ARROW molded onto the tote’s lid should point toward the city street.  If your container is too far off the curb and there is a parked car nearby, the garbage truck may not be able to access your tote, and your garbage will not be picked-up.  Please leave at least a 4-foot space between the tote and obstacles such as your city-supplied recycling bin, street signs, parked cars, hydrants, trees, snow piles, or any other object that could obstruct the lifting and dumping of the tote by the truck operator. The tote will be returned to the location where it was originally placed.

Do totes work in inclement weather?

The Automated Garbage Collection system has proven to work well in all types of weather, including rain and snow, and can withstand winds up to 45 mph.  The specifically designed, non-removable hinged lids prevent them from being lost, run over, or blown away. The totes have smooth surfaces and lids to impede animals from getting into the container.

What kind of waste can I put in the tote?

The tote is designed to hold normal household garbage.  All trash must be bagged, the contents must fit completely inside the tote and the lid must be closed.  Do not place hazardous waste, flammable items, fluorescent bulbs/tubes, bulky items, liquids of any kind, recyclables, or any other material other than garbage in your tote. The operator can view whatever is in the tote as it dumps and will report any violation to the Director of Public Works for further action.  Moreover, please do not place any items alongside the tote as they will not be collected.

What do I do if my tote is damaged, lost or stolen?

Do not mark or write on the tote. A serial number stamped on each container identifies the container and corresponds to the property and street address. Please notify the Public Works Department if the tote is damaged, lost or stolen in order to arrange for the purchase of a new tote.