By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — A new waste removal contract will mean a new approach to trash day for the city’s roughly 33,000 households.
Starting in July, Phoenix, Arizona-based Republic Waste Services will take over residential waste removal from the current provider, Waste Management, as part of a seven-year, $33 million agreement.
The new contract, which was approved by City Council last week, will mean a number of changes for residents on their neighborhood public service day. By the end of June, city officials will deliver some 60,000 96-gallon canisters – one each for garbage and recyclables per house – for use with the new fully automated service. Republic’s automated trucks use a hydraulic arm to pick up the cans, cutting on labor costs and decreasing the time it takes for truck drivers to complete a run.
The automated system also necessitates a tweak to the city’s parking policy on public service days. Instead of the biweekly no-street-parking directive of years past, residents this year will be required to have their cars off the street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on every public service day for their neighborhood.
City officials said the reason is so that the waste removal trucks will be able to sidle up next to the waste receptacles, but also so that street sweeping crews can complete more road mileage per day.
Another aspect of the new service that has city officials excited is the much more relaxed guidelines for recycling – something they credit for doubling recycling rates in an eastside neighborhood that used the canister system as part of a pilot program last year.
Pickups for recyclables will convert to biweekly from the current schedule of every week.
And no longer will residents have to separate and bundle their recyclables – they are sorted at a processing facility after collection. City officials also touted the ease with which the wheeled containers can be maneuvered to the curb compared to the 18-gallon, wheelless crates currently in use.
The new canisters cost about $42 apiece and are being purchased through a separate contract with Cascade Engineering for $2.72 million. Residents will not be required to pay any out-of-pocket costs for the bins.
City officials said items that can’t fit into the canisters still would be accepted by a separate, manned “bulk” truck and that backdoor pickup service would be available for handicapped persons and other residents as determined by the city.