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Will new trash bins bring heaps of trouble?

Newport plans to replace beach metal Dumpsters for plastic containers, but some are worried people won't lift the new lids.

March 29, 2011|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com
  • Newport Beach is using new plastic trash bins on some of its beaches, instead of the square metal containers that had been there for decades. Some residents complain that the new bins tip over during storms and spill their contents, but the city says the pilot program has been successful and it will expand to all of the beaches in April.
Newport Beach is using new plastic trash bins on some of… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — For decades, when surfers broke their boards, they would lay them to rest in one of the city's metal beach Dumpsters with fins protruding like a tombstone — a symbol of their hard-charging ways and the ocean's ultimate force.

Come Monday, surfers will have one less way to show off just how gnarly they are.

Newport Beach plans to replace its beach bins with new covered plastic containers. A private company will provide and empty them, and city officials say they'll save money in the long run.

While officials are happy with the contractor's performance during a pilot program, some residents are jarred by the change in the visual landscape and worry that lazy beach visitors won't lift their lids.

"The program has been well received, and the contractor, Rainbow Disposal, is doing a great job," Mark Harmon, Newport's director of operations, wrote in an e-mail.

Newport has been testing the new receptacles between the Newport Pier and the Santa Ana River Jetties since January, and earlier this month it announced that the pilot program was successful and that the other beaches would get the bins April 4.

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The new 165-gallon containers look like oversized residential trash cans with lids on a hinge. In place of the blue municipal trucks that lift the Dumpsters from the front, Rainbow's tan trash trucks will use an automatic arm to grasp the bins from the side and empty them overhead.

Two city trucks designed specifically to lift the metal Dumpsters were built in the 1980s and had been in disrepair, said Mike Pisani, deputy director of operations.

The city retired one of them and was considering replacing it at a cost of $300,000, but instead decided to try an outside company's service.

"It's a task that we don't have to worry about staffing," Pisani said, adding that the truck drivers and other employees can now focus on their other duties. "It's just not really a core service that the city needs to provide."

But Newport did provide the open metal Dumpsters for many years, and beachgoers became used to seeing them — and arranging their towels to avoid downwind whiffs emanating from them. They were painted blue like the trucks and other Newport municipal vehicles until recently, when the city painted them the color of the sand.

"You identify with them," said Nicolai Glazer, who surfs near 54th Street in upper West Newport. "They were just fine."

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