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Trash bag distribution change worth trying

CREDIT the City of Charleston for trying to improve an existing process. That's something government entities don't seem to do often enough.

The city decided to change the garbage bag distribution system and save itself $35,000.

Sure, the new program has had some hiccups and could have been communicated better, but the program shows promise.

Instead of property owners driving to a temporary Pennsylvania Avenue distribution site under the interstate during a two-day pickup period one time per year, they can now visit a participating retailer anytime the business place is open between now and the end of January.

Beginning in February, the process begins again.

It seems the biggest snag of the program this year is that Charleston residents are so used to having a brief window of time to pick up their bags, that once they got their voucher in the mail, they believed they had to pick the bags up immediately. The five participating retailers didn't have the full six-months supply in stock: therefore, many ran out.

All involved seem to be learning, and the process is sure to become smoother.

Besides the reduced cost to the city, the new system brings people to established, taxpaying businesses within the city. Hopefully, participating retailers will net a benefit of more shoppers.

Some elderly residents complained that they now have to get out of their car to get the bags, compared to the previous pickup site where city workers placed them in their trunks for them.

Perhaps one of the participating retailers can offer that service and create its own competitive advantage.  

Participating retailers are

  • The Purple Onion at Capitol Market
  • Foodland in Kanawha City
  • Pile Hardware on Washington Street West
  • Drug Emporium, West Side and Kanawha City
  • The system is not perfect - and the debate as to whether the city should even be in the business of providing trash bags continues - but council members have argued that many times.

    As long as the city is providing the bags, it's good to keep working to improve the system.


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