In less than two months, the city goes to once-a-week garbage pickup, so the time has come for us to start changing the rhythm of our lives.
This is a change that Columbus was talking about before Teresa Tomlinson bought her first pair of heels. Tomlinson has succeeded where other mayors failed and the revised pickup schedule goes into effect on Sept. 14.
Change hits some of us harder than others, and Public Works Director Pat Biegler said she has been hearing from a few anxious citizens, but that others are already taking only one can a week to the curb.
"This has always made sense, but it wasn't worth the effort," Biegler said. "Now more people are environmentally sensitive and more people realize that the city is in financial trouble."
She offered some interesting numbers:
The city brought in $660,000 in recycling revenue last year and with the number of recyclers expected to rise significantly that income should rise.
The projected lifespan of the city landfill went from 28.5 years to 32.5 years last year and its future will increase from 32.5 years to 34.5 years with the changes.
The city recommends citizens use 32 gallon cans that are more manageable than larger models.
Under the current routine, city trucks go down our neighborhood streets five days a week -- twice for garbage and one day each for yard waste, recyclables and bulky items. After September, truck traffic will go down to four days a week.
Those of us who don't recycle will be forced to sort our trash. Biegler said a limited number of large blue bins are currently available and 2,500 more bins are being ordered. A waiting list will be established for the rolling models. Smaller bins are more readily available by calling City Services at 311.
For more information on the change to once-a-week pickup along with guidelines for recycling and other services, you can go to the city's website at www.columbusga.org. A map is provided that will confirm what day of the week your home pickup will be.
Biegler's department has been preparing for the conversion for some time. A special computer routing program was installed last year and it has improved efficiency. It will be used to further streamline routes this fall.
The city is creating a promotional plan to inform citizens about the upcoming move to once-a-week pickup, recognizing that many longtime household habits will need to change. This campaign is vital for people who are already asking questions.
Other cities have survived with weekly service but we've been spoiled. At my house, we have 53 days to change our habits and get used to the idea that we only have one day to get it right.
But at least we won't have to whine about those Monday holidays.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.