Stinky start to recycling program
Despite the barrage of complaints and problems that residents have reported to Allied Waste every day since the new Summit County trash program began two weeks ago, company representatives say they have it all under control and that nothing has happened so far that was not expected.
Some residents have been unsure if the new 65-gallon grey bin is the one for trash while others have been placing the large 95-gallon recycling bin out on the curb every week instead of every-other week. According to Allied Waste Operations Manager Gordon Brokaw, many of the problems that residents have encountered so far could be avoided if they read the packets attached to the new bins.
"A big change happened for everyone and people are adjusting and are unsure on what days everything is happening, but all the information has been provided," he said. "We think that entering into the third week people will begin to get the hang of it and get used to doing their garbage and recycling in the new bins."
Brokaw said that because the new trash bins were not delivered to some residents in time for them to separate recycling before collection day, they decided to bring all the recycling to the landfill for the first two weeks.
"Some people had to put their garbage in their new recycling bin because it was the only bin they had," Brokaw said. "So instead of contaminating other recycling at our facility, we collected recycling and garbage together and gave residents a grace period to figure out the new system."
Park Meadows resident Tom Kullen said that if they had known the recycling and trash were going to be mixed, they would have brought their recycling to Recycle Utah themselves like they used to.
"Things have been a real mess in Park Meadows," he said. "Trash pickup was delayed, then our recycling was never collected, if they had done this program switch in a more organized, less rushed way we could have avoided a lot of these problems."
Old Town residents are also unsure as to where they fit into the new trash program. Brokaw said that Allied Waste is in talks with Curb It Recycling, the area’s previous provider, to once again collect Old Town’s recycling.
"There has been a lot of confusion in that neighborhood and due to the steep streets we think Curb It’s trucks may be better suited for collecting the recycling bins," he said, adding that the contract is dependent on the county’s approval.
Resident Clive Bush said that whatever system Allied Waste decides to use in the neighborhood, they should make sure residents are aware of it.
"The story keeps changing and they can’t tell us what day the trucks are coming or what bin we have to use," Bush said. "We still don’t have the proper cans and if you walk around Old Town, you see some people with their old blue bins, some people with two bins out, it is a total mess."
Bush said that the confusion could have been avoided if Allied Waste had tried to keep the schedule and system similar to how it was before and made sure all the residents were prepared for the change.
Cliff Blonquist, Summit County’s waste administrator, said that the county has fielded more than 3,000 calls in the past two weeks from residents regarding the new trash service.
"Some of the cans were not placed at the correct address and a lot were delivered to residences that didn’t need one," Blonquist said. "Making the change over a holiday when the service was delayed and people were out of town also contributed to the delays and confusion and may have not been the best system. But I do think Allied Waste and residents are becoming more comfortable with the new cans."
Blonquist added that Allied Waste is not overwhelmed by the new contract since they serve large cities like Denver and Las Vegas, they are just trying to adjust to the "diversity" of Summit County.
"I think the diversity of the area was more difficult than they expected. We have a lot of second homes, cabins, rental pools, it is a whole different way of doing things," he said. "But we always knew Old Town would be a grey area, every bidder had questions about how to manage Old Town. It was put in the contract that they could find a third party bidder and we think that Curb It has a better method for handling Old Town and will require fewer trucks."
Next week, trash and recycling truck drivers will be tagging trash cans that are put out on the wrong day or not sorted properly. Blonquist said the tags will the correct collection day and how the new system works.
Beginning the week of July 16, all trash and recycling will be separated. If residents have questions or problems with their garbage or recycling collection they should call Allied/Republic Waste at 435-615-8311.
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“We’re kind of turning the corner … and it’s now time to maybe put out the welcome mat in a careful and thoughtful manner,” said Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.”