Texas city plans to use robot for litter pickup and to help protect workers from COVID-19

Southwest

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — The City of Kyle plans to use an automated robot to curb the amount of litter in city parks, and stop the spread of COVID-19.

At its Nov 17. meeting, the City of Kyle approved a pilot program with Mekaworks to lease a litter collecting robot, and technician for no more than $28,000.

“It’s important to note, that like everything else, litter cleanup has changed in times of COVID-19. Automated collection of litter lowers workers’ risk but reducing contact with potentially contaminated litter,” said the City of Kyle.

“This sole procurement is necessary to preserve and protect public health and safety of employees and visitors in City parks against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dec Ellison, Council Member and Kyle City Manager J. Scott Sellers.

Kyle City Council approved using up to $28,000 in CARES Act funds for the pilot program.

Jason Lewis, and John Connolly are the brains behind trash picker upper.

“With this, you can go to the beach without having to see plastic,” said CEO of Mekaworks, Jason Lewis. “As a human, you know the space isn’t supposed to look like that. It just bothers people down to the core.”

Lewis’ company plans to significantly move the needle on American litter collection starting in Kyle, Texas.

“It provides data on what it collects, and it’s also safer because people don’t have to come in contact with litter as much,” said Lewis.

By automating trash pick-up, Lewis says it can significantly cut costs for a city. The parks and recreation staff in Kyle pick-up trash daily Monday though Saturday at City Parks.

The City of Kyle says this costs 10 full-time salaries per-year, and about 10 staff members help with litter pickup onto of other duties like mowing.

“Rather than having them walk around to pick up trash, they can use those employees for valuable things, like maintenance at facilities; which tend to fall below litter collection,” said Lewis.

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