City of Raleigh to move its garbage collection underground

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The City of Raleigh knows its trash stinks and crowds the sidewalks and that's why it's moving its garbage collection underground.

In a first of its kind installation in the United States, downtown Raleigh businesses will begin using six high-capacity containers from Molok North America to collect trash, mixed recycling, and cardboard.

The city said one container, which is 60 percent underground, will hold the equivalent of about 20 garbage carts that currently sit on sidewalks, creating an unsightly, smelly experience for people who live, work, and visit downtown.

The nearly 500 unsightly garbage carts, which are permanently parked on sidewalks, were identified as the top concern in a 2018 downtown cleanliness survey.

Empire Eats restaurants, Gravy, Sitti, Raleigh Times, Morning Times, Pizza Times, and Mecca are among the businesses participating in the pilot program.

Employees will use six Moloks that will be installed in the no parking zone on Wilmington St. at the Hargett St. intersection.

Right now, multiple times a day, employees have to haul heavy garbage bags and recycling to the city's garbage carts that are often overflowing next to a bus stop.

"We have so many restaurants and we make a lot of trash," said Amanda Ziminski with Empire Eats Hospitality Dir. "It's just messy. It's interruptive to our service."

Stan Joseph, Raleigh's Solid Waste Services Director, said the Moloks will improve the quality of life while saving the city money and helping the environment, cutting down on the time trucks and crews are on the street.

Joseph said the city's sustainability fund, along with private donations, is paying for the containers and the cost of modifying trucks with a hook to lift the bags out of the five-foot-deep Molok wells.

Tim Corcoran, Vice President of Molok North America, said the wells are leach-proof.

"It's one continuous piece of plastic so there are no seams, no cracks, no air pockets," Corcoran said.

The city will begin installation June 3 and will collect data from the Moloks for six months before deciding whether to install more in other parts of downtown.
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