The Park Record editorial, July 14-17, 2012 |

The Park Record editorial, July 14-17, 2012

New county trash-collection system is off to a lousy start

Summit County’s new trash collection plan stumbled awkwardly out of the starting gate over the Fourth of July holiday and, as a result, has already lost a lot of credibility.

Courthouse officials say the hiccups were to be expected, but the outpouring of complaints throughout the county indicates the rollout was, to put it mildly, not well timed.

While the County Council’s overarching goal to encourage more recycling is admirable, residents were stunned to learn this week that during the first two weeks of the program, all of their carefully separated recyclables had been tossed into the landfill with the regular trash. Many environmentally conscious citizens believe that was inexcusable.

We agree with them.

According to Allied Waste, the decision to chuck the recycling out with the trash was regrettable but necessary. They say many residents had mixed up the bins or had not received the new smaller receptacles and had continued placing their garbage in the bigger bins which are now reserved for recycling.

That may be true, but it does not excuse the fact that the bins had not been delivered. Those who to tried to call Allied to get their missing trash containers prior to the first pickup were put on terminal hold, suggesting that the company was completely overwhelmed and not adequately prepared for the changeover.

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Furthermore, Allied is now claiming that the steep, narrow streets in Old Town may present more challenges than anticipated. That just doesn’t ring true. Allied has been servicing Park City for many years and should be well aware of the terrain.

To be fair, a lot of citizens just ignored the impending overhaul of the county’s trash-collection system. Instructions and schedules were distributed by mail, on the county’s website and through the news media. Some people just don’t pay attention and that must be frustrating to county officials who tried to make the information readily available.

Still, when Allied bid on the county’s five-year contract, it made a commitment to cover the whole county, snow or shine. And it agreed to support the community’s environmental ethics. So far it has fallen short on both counts.

County officials point out that Allied Waste, which also serves major metro areas like Denver and Las Vegas, is not a newcomer to the trash business and they are confident the company will iron out the initial wrinkles.

After watching the trash and recycling being poured into one common truck receptacle, we aren’t so sure but we expect the county to hold them to their word.