Western New York waste program hits its stride (with related video)
The Department of Public Works in the town of Pittsford, N.Y., is starting its 16th year of collecting and recycling green waste. In addition to allowing residents to easily dispose of their tree and brush waste, the waste collection program is generating products that the DPW makes available to residents for free.
“Pittsford has, for a long time now, been committed to a recycling program of one sort or another,” says Ed Starowicz Jr., the town’s deputy commissioner for the DPW. “The grinding of green waste, for example, has been going on since the mid-1980s. At that time, the town was contracting with an outside firm to come in on a regular basis and grind up all the debris that had been collected. However, town officials reached a point where they were paying well over $250,000 a year for those services and started looking into getting a grinder of their own. In 1998 they purchased their first tub grinder, a Morbark 1300, and the program has been growing ever since.”
The Pittsford DPW has divided the town into four quadrants and schedules weekly pickups of residential brush and branch from each section on differing days. Material collected ranges from branches and brush to grass clippings, weeds, vines and small yard debris. In the late fall, mountains of leaves are also collected from the heavily treed area. Pick-up of post-holiday discarded Christmas trees rounds out the collection effort.
Today, the town takes in material from its own residents as well as from the nearby village of Pittsford, and accepts drop-off material from contractors working in the town, as well as from local colleges. The DPW operates two sites in the town and moves the grinder between them. Though that is the only movement the grinder sees, such was not always the case, according to James Hutchinson, one of the DPW’s senior equipment operators.
“In the past, we’d occasionally go to some of the surrounding townships like Brighton, Penfield and Mendon to help out with their green waste,” Hutchinson says. “However, because of the growth we’ve seen here in the town, we have more than enough material to keep us busy without going out.”
When the Pittsford DPW chose to replace its existing Morbark 1300 tub grinder after eight years of continuous service, it went through an open bid process and requested demonstrations by a number of major equipment manufacturers. Town officials ultimately selected Morbark’s newest model tub grinder, the 1300B, to keep waste collection going strong. The grinder is the third such unit that the DPW has operated as part of the program.
Equipment operator Hutchinson is sold on the unit’s durability. “The wear parts on the new machine are just outstanding; much better than anything we’ve ever seen,” says Hutchinson. “The wear bars are much heartier and, while that makes them a bit more expensive than in the past, that additional cost is more than offset by the added life we are getting out of them.”
The DPW uses the grinder to generate two grades of natural mulch as well as a leaf-mulch and a soil product. Another by-product of the grinder is customer satisfaction among town residents.
This video showcases the Morbark 1300B Tub Grinder. It features the Morbark Integrated Control System, that allows the operator to monitor critical machine parameters from anywhere a web browser can be viewed.