Automated Trucks May Change How BFI Picks Up Trash

The garbage man's practice of running alongside a BFI truck -- or hitching a ride on the back of it -- may get thrown out with the rest of the trash. "That will work," trash collector Willie Carroll said, "because it's hot out here. Yes sir, that will work."

BFI recently tested an automated garbage collection system at 600 Harrison County homes. A machine, rather than a person, emptied household garbage cans. "If it does any better than this," trash collector Dennis Battle said while on his route, "go for it."

The system got high marks from customers and the company. According to BFI General Manager Nick Ladner, "It's just an overall sound thing to do for the cities and the county."

When Ladner showed the new household garbage cart to the Biloxi City Council, he said it won't cost residents additional money. He also said nobody would lose their jobs because of the automated trucks. "We're going to have the same number of trucks that pickup garbage pick up automated," Ladner said. "But we'll also run trash trucks, which will take the helpers that are on the back of the trucks now and put them on trash crews."

So if BFI gets permission to use the new trucks, trash collectors will be picking up limbs and debris, not smelly trash cans. "I lift weights and do pushups, so I'm not going to miss the garbage," Willie Carroll said. "I'm just going to miss the smell."

One other thing the guys won't miss is the daily run to keep up with the garbage truck that runs through your neighborhood.

If BFI implements the automated system, it will give every homeowner one garbage cart. If you need a second cart, you'll pay $5.23 a month.