Let’s talk trash…changes, that isSubmitted photo As of Jan. 1, the city’s waste hauler changes from Waste Management to Veolia Environmental Services.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
The City Council decided in October that River Falls will change its trash service as of Jan. 1 from Waste Management to Veolia Environmental Services.
The week of Dec. 27-31, Waste Management will pick up the trash on regularly scheduled days, as well as its garbage and recycling receptacles. That same week, Veolia will drop off residents’ new receptacles.
City Engineer Reid Wronski and Engineer Kristy Treichel confirm that each resident will get a garbage bin of comparable size to their current one, as well as a 64-gallon wheeled recycling bin, much bigger than the old 18-gallon ones.
Treichel and Wronski agree the wheeled bins should also make it easier for everyone to get their recycling out to the curb or alley.
Treichel and Wronski say the new bins have lids to keep the recycling materials from blowing out of the bins and around River Falls. They confirm that wind-blown recyclable materials have been an issue in the past.
The two say customers can call Veolia and get a smaller or bigger bin, at no cost.
The company says literature will come with the bins, but it asks that people leave at least two feet between the garbage and recycling receptacles -- even better to set them on opposite sides of the driveway from one another.
Citizens will continue to receive a separate bill for their trash service, only it will come from Veolia now. Treichel said the company will bill quarterly, and the first bill would probably arrive mid-February.
Wronski said he’s had questions about why people can’t choose their own trash hauler. Not only does the city have vastly more bargaining power than an individual -- it represents 3,500 residents -- but also having one hauler and fewer trucks in town saves gas and wear and tear on the streets.
River Falls has contracted with Waste Management for the past 10 years by way of two five-year contracts. Veolia’s bid for the next five-year service period was about $421,000; Waste Management proposed the service around $591,000.
Residents won’t pay any more or less; there should be no change for at least a year. Wronski and Veolia confirm that the contractor’s cost is tied to a consumer price index and that “annual adjustments reflecting changes in the consumer price index are allowed.”
Wronski says even with the index, residents should not see a significant increase. He thinks it’s a pretty good deal to still be paying about the same price as 10 years ago.
Pick up days of Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday remain the same. The only service to be discontinued will be curb- or alley-side pickup of yard waste, which seems sensible since a city survey revealed that few use the service; and, residents can take yard waste to the city’s compost site.
Wronski and Treichel say just as the city signed its contract with Veolia for in-city service, the company is discontinuing service in rural River Falls. People outside city limits are responsible for arranging their own waste service and have become confused when they call to ask the city what trash hauler it uses.
The engineers have fielded calls asking: Will Veolia also recycle Christmas trees?
Wronski and Treichel say yes. It will collect trees, but not wreaths or garland with wire, at the curb or alley for the two weeks following Christmas.
The two engineers say the city required Waste Management to take all its recycling to the Pierce County Recycling Center, but it won’t require that of Veolia.
“Our contract left it open,” said Wronski.
He explained that PCRC is not a single-stream recycler, which means people can’t mix all their recyclable material together in the bin -- bottles with cardboard, newspapers with aluminum, etc.
Veolia is single stream plus takes more types of plastic -- types one through seven, instead of only types one through three.
Treichel said as the old contract approached expiration, the city conducted a 34-question waste-hauler survey, the answers to which guided the city’s decisions.
Survey respondents said they preferred quarterly billing, the lowest-cost service, a 35-gallon receptacle and a covered recycling bin. Answers showed that many people use the recycling and spring cleanup services, as well as the compost site.
Wronski said Veolia is where people should call if they need help with their trash or recycling but clarifies that trash hauling is a city service provided through the contract. He said the city needs to hear from people if they feel for some reason that the service is not satisfactory.