The city launched its first underground waste containers Wednesday. The first one, for now, is located behind city hall.
“It’s taken almost two and half years, but we are at this point and we are going to change the face of solid waste collection,” said Osceola County School Board member Jay Wheeler.
Wheeler is also president of Underground Refuse Systems, the company that makes the trash system out of the UCF business incubator.
Wheeler told Channel 9’s Jeff Levkulich the underground trash is to eliminate dumpster divers from humans and animals.
“It’s got different applications depending on the buyer. Some buyers may but it to keep rodents out, to keep bears out. They may do it to save space,” Wheeler said.
The plan is to add 17 underground trash containers throughout Osceola County, officials said.
People can dump their trash through a mail-box like receptacle above ground. The trash then falls about 11 feet into underground dumpsters. The metal box contains about six cubic yards of garbage.
To prevent illegal dumping, the dumpsters have a special security feature that requires a key to get inside.
Kissimmee is the first municipality in the U.S. to sign up with the system’s manufacturer, Underground Refuse Systems.
Officials said underground dumpsters have been used for years in other countries.
Kissimmee spent $500,000 for the dumpsters so far. Most of the money went toward retrofitting a truck with specialized parts.
The plan is to add six more dumpsters in Kissimmee, three for trash, three for recycling.
“We have a 10-square-block area in our downtown and we have been having trouble for years with the common dumpster areas,” said Mike Steigerwald, Kissimmee city manager. “Some are located in parking lots, some were located in alleys, others on the sides of our streets and we need a permanent solution to the problem.”