By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 11/1/20.
The Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Grappler schedule will be especially important to double check for residents in Las Cruces this year as the regular day for trash pickup may change. The schedule, sent out at the beginning of December, will show the new days of service for 24 percent of LCU Solid Waste residential customers effective January 2021.
“As the city has grown, we have added new routes to service our customers,” Robin Lawrence, LCU deputy director Solid Waste said. “However, over time those additional routes added a burden on our ability to be efficient.”
Trucks farther away from the transfer station take more time in getting back to unload the trash. Plus, certain routes are harder to complete for drivers assigned to those routes as these are the routes that have the most growth. “Currently, other drivers that have less containers to service go help their coworkers. Balancing the routes will help spread the workload,” Lawrence said.
LCU enlisted a consultant, Easy Route, a subsidiary of Routeware, LCU’s on-board Solid Waste technology, to help analyze how routes operate in detail. The consultants discovered – thanks to data collected by the trucks over the last year – that some routes are overly burdened in comparison with others.
“It’s also a matter of rebalancing our routes due to growth we’re anticipating the city to have in the future,” Lawrence said. LCU predicts the Solid Waste customer base will potentially increase by 25% over the next five years. This information is based on the current permits and plan reviews for master planned subdivisions and the number of residential lots expected.
Currently, LCU services roughly 38,000 residential and 2,100 commercial containers, Monday through Friday. The drivers head in at 5:30 a.m., inspect their trucks, and begin collection by 6 a.m. There are currently nine residential routes and six commercial routes run daily.
“The range of containers picked up on a single residential route is between 616 to 1,552 containers, which highlights some differences already found within the logistics of the routes,” Lawrence said. ““Better designed routes mean more efficiency for our drivers and consistency for our customers throughout the week.”
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Check your LCU Grappler schedule that’ll be in the mail in December; you may be in the quarter of the city whose trash day may be changing come January 2021.