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Conversion of Bagged Trash to Cart System Update

Wednesday, December 12, 2012; by Buddy Saunders

2012-12-11 buddy1

In February, Republic Services will begin delivering wheeled carts for recycling. The carts will replace the previous recycling tubs.  For those of us who don’t recycle–and for good reason–this change will not affect us, apart from the $1 or so added cost per month which recyclers and non recyclers alike are forced to pay.  Our City Council tells us that they’ve struck another winning deal with a city service provider–we’re getting these carts “at no charge.”

Considering that this deal comes with absolutely no improvement in service, it might be better to think of the cart (the only new thing in this deal) as costing each home owner $12 per year.

Next to come will be the conversion of bagged trash pickup to carts unless citizens mount a spirited resistance.  A spirited resistance will be necessary simply because Mayor Cluck and a majority of the Council, and conceivably all, are eager to hand this multi-million dollar bonus to Republic Services.

We know the switch to wheeled carts for recycling–which is weekly–will cost us about $1 per month more.  Given that trash pickup is twice weekly, it is safe to assume that will cost us another $2 extra per month once implemented.

Currently, a homeowner can put out as many bags of trash as he needs to. Walking the neighborhoods of north Arlington, we frequently see many more bags at the curb than could possibly fit in a cart.  How will homeowners dispose of these extra bags and at what cost after the coming of the carts?  Have a big family, clean out your garage, pack or unpack stuff, bag your autumn leaves–these and similar situations result in more trash than a cart can accommodate.

Take leaves and yard debris for example.  We’ve seen as many as 20 bags of leaves curbside. Only two will fit in a cart.  Yes, Arlington already offers other disposal options, but these assume you are young enough to lift and load leaf bags and have a vehicle to carry them. If so, you can drop leaf bags off at one of several citywide points or take them to the dump at no cost. But try getting ten bags of leaves to the city dump on a bicycle.  And most often it is the elderly who are left up a creek.

Suppose you have no choice but to put those bags curbside. If so, you’ll likely pay $3.00 to $3.50 extra per bag for service you previously enjoyed at no cost.

Whenever a homeowner chooses curbside service for his extra bags of whatever, the homeowner pays twice, first the higher cart fees, and secondly for extra bag pickup and/or in varying degrees of inconvenience.

When private business offers the consumer new goods or services, the operative concept is to offer something better at a lower price.  Not so with government.  Only government offers less at more cost, with a bit of crony favoritism winning out over the best interests of citizens.

Don’t expect Mayor Cluck and the Council to say a peep about this hush hush plan to replace bagged trash service with carts.  There’s an election coming in the spring. Better to pass the plan after the city elections, and hope the voter has forgotten the insult by the time the next election rolls around.

2 Responses to Conversion of Bagged Trash to Cart System Update

  1. m

    December 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    We used to haul our leaves to the dumpsters formerly located at Dunlop Park, but continual abuse by contractors led the city to discontinue that location.

    We won’t risk damage to our truck, and the wait in line, to drive them to the landfill, and refuse to waste gasoline to haul them to UTA. So whatever we cannot mulch up and leave on the lawn is taken to the landfill with regular trash collection.

    What *should* occur, if the greenies at city hall REALLY wanted to ‘save the planet’… Yard Waste trucks should be employed during leaf season. Bagged leaves are collected weekly by trucks that take the leaves to the landfill, but to the north side, where tree branches and other items are ground up and recycled into compost and mulch.

    In numerous cities around the country, Yard Waste trucks are used this way, and grass clippings are collected in the summer, leaves in the autumn. Of course, in these locations, trash is set out in cans or bags, and not placed in these ridiculous carts.

    If Republic and the city wish to decrease the now twice-weekly trash collection, which they certainly will, then a program to collect yard waste, using specific vehicles, should be started.

    Government and it’s special partners certainly have perfected the business model of “Less for More”… diametrically opposed to the way Real Life ACTUALLY works.

    • buddy

      December 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you for your well-reasoned and clearly expressed views. This is what we hope to see more of as time goes by as more and more citizens discover Opinion Arlington. Thank you again!

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