By Florence Rankin

TIFTON - With a new $157,000 automated garbage truck hitting the routes for the first time today, Tifton-Tift County Sanitation Director Cal Carpenter is asking residents to make sure they don't leave garbage piled beside the cans.

The green and orange truck is the third automated unit purchased by Tift County and the City of Tifton. As long as there isn't any trash outside the cans, the one operator required to run the truck doesn't have to get out of the cab and can finish the route more efficiently.

"They need to have the cans curbside no later than 7 a.m. on the pickup day, and we suggest moving the cans back to the house that evening," said Carpenter. "We ask that they try to have everything inside the can, because if the driver has to stop it defeats the purpose of these automated trucks.

"Even if they have to pack everything down inside and leave the top open, that's better than leaving beside the cans or stacking it on top."

Carpenter said the new trucks have a cover to prevent trash from blowing back out of the truck once it's out of the cans. Automated arms pick the cans up and empty them.

The new truck will be used in the unincorporated areas of Tift County, Carpenter said. "Until now, we've been running the majority of the county routes on Fridays," he said. "We're going to be moving some of them to other days of the week now that we've got this truck and can run county routes all during the week."

Households whose pickup days will be different will be notified through tags and flyers on their garbage cans. Anyone whose pickup is missed may call the sanitation department at 386-GARB.

Although curbside recycling pickup ended at the first of July due to budget considerations, Carpenter said four collection sites - at the inert landfill and on South Central, Whiddon Mill Road and Chula-Brookfield Road - are open. Anyone signing up for garbage service will receive a 22-gallon recycling container as long as supplies last.

Hours at the collection sites are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the inert landfill; from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays only at Whiddon Mill and Chula, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday at the South Central site.

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