Automated trash collection coming to Rolla

Truck uses a robotic arm to grab and empty trash carts


As everything in this world evolves, so goes trash collection. 

The city of Rolla’s first automated collection truck was recently unveiled to the City Council and the community. 

The truck, which may remind residents of something from “The Terminator” movie, uses a robotic arm to grab and empty trash carts. According to Rolla Environmental Services Director Brady Wilson, many Rolla residents will see this new truck in their neighborhood soon. All other residents will eventually be included.

Wilson notes, it will be important for residents to follow the guidelines provided below to ensure that staff can empty their cart:

• Carts must be placed within 3 feet of the curb and can actually be sat in the street where traffic is not an issue. 

• Carts must be placed so there is 3 feet of clearance on each side, including recycling bins.

• All trash must be contained in tied bags, except bulkier items such as a rug or a fan. 

• Carts must be placed with the front, indicated by arrows on the lid, facing towards the street.

• A mechanical arm must have direct access from the street to the cart, and vehicles cannot obstruct access.

It is the responsibility of the resident to keep the container clean and in a sanitary condition. Residents must place trash in tied plastic bags with the container lid kept closed, and it is a good idea to wash the container a few times a year. 

When residents have more trash than will fit into their container, the city offers specially marked trash bags for $1 each. Residents can place these bags beside a trash cart on a normal collection day. 

Residents can purchase trash bags at the Recycling Center or the Finance Department at City Hall. 

Arrangements can be made each week for bulk items that are not a normal part of the trash service, such as couches, chairs, etc., for an extra fee or by purchasing Bulk Waste Stickers. The city also conducts a spring clean-up to collect specified bulk items at no charge.

According to Wilson, this new form of waste collection is designed to improve worker safety and employee retention. 

For more information, visit, email or call 573-364-6693.