Twice-a-week trash pickup in Palestine, a staple for nearly a decade, could end, when negotiations with Waste Connections, the city's trash collection contractor, begin next month.
Reducing pickups to one day a week would have little impact on residents, interim City Manager Leslie Cloer said, but would lighten the load considerably for the city's battered and bruised streets.
“The garbage trucks are the biggest, heaviest trucks on our streets,” she told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “Reducing their trips, and therefor the stress on our roads, from three times a week to one would have a very positive impact.”
Waste Connections has collected trash from residents and businesses twice a week since 2010. Special circumstances occasionally have even prompted a third pick-up.
When city council members meet next month, Waste Connections executives will present at least four collection options: retain the current plan; twice-a-week pickup with no recycling; once-a-week with recycling; and once-a-week without recycling.
The cost of each plan is yet-to- be-determined. The once-a-week pickup, however, would include large, plastic “polycarts” trash containers. This, too, Cloer said, would benefit the community.
“As it stands, residents put out bags, which are sometimes not weatherproof, right on the curb,” she said. “Having a closed container will keep trash from blowing down the street or sticking in people's yards. The community will just look cleaner.”
Recycling, another service offered by Waste Connections, may also cease, or become the responsibility of the city.
Currently only 30 percent of city residents utilize the recycling option. “Waste Connections reports the majority of these customers aren't following the recycling guidelines, and most of what's collected ends up discarded as trash,” Cloer said.
Matt Lowe, site manager for Waste Connections, said residents aren't purposely breaking recycling rules; they are simply uninformed.
“We get a lot of newspapers in the bins,” Lowe told city council members last week. “Only the actual paper is recyclable. The ads with the treated paper don't recycle, and they contaminate a load.”
Wrapping paper, paper coffee cups, and anything treated with a waxy, shiny surface typically contains non-recyclable plastic.
Food remnants, found on items such as pizza boxes and milk containers, also contaminate a recycle load, as do styrofoam, light bulbs, and broken glass.
If a glass container is not intact, the River Recycling website warns, it is impossible to determine if it can recycle with other glass.
Cloer said city leaders are considering options for manned stations in town for ecologically-minded residents to bring their recycling, rather than depending upon Waste Connections.
“We will be evaluating all of our options,” she said.