City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

Streamlining Solid Waste Collection

June 26 Solid Waste Presentation  | August 9 Informational Meeting PresentationOpen Town Hall – Available Service Options | Telephone Town Hall Audio File

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IMPORTANT DATES ON THE HORIZON:

  • Informational Public Meeting – 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 9, 3600 Tremont Road
  • Telephone Town Hall – evening of Tuesday, August 15
  • First Council Reading & Public Hearing – 7:30 p.m., Monday, August 21, 3600 Tremont Road
  • Second Council Reading, Public Hearing, Council Action – 7:30 p.m., Monday, August 28, 3600 Tremont Road

Introduction
What once was applauded as an innovative solution for reducing UA’s solid waste stream, increasing recycling rates and allowing residents to control costs, has outlived its usefulness. The sticker program is labor intensive and cannot adapt to industry advancements. The crews lack incentive to ensure household compliance and the haphazard mix of refuse and recycling containers result in blowing trash and unsightly streets.

We are a community that proudly touts the stark contrast between UA streets and those of our surrounding neighbors come snow removal season. The same cannot be said of our solid waste program, which is emerging as the lowest rated municipal service from the 2017 Community Survey.

A new approach is on the horizon that will:

  • Enable residents to dispose of yard waste at no extra charge – gone are those time consuming trips to the yard waste facility.
  • Enable residents to put out bulk items on collection day at no extra charge – no more moth-eaten couches and broken appliances gathering dust in the garage, or left at the curb for days because the wrong number of stickers were affixed.
  • Cost a household that uses one or more stickers per week less than they paid for this service in 1992.
  • Provide one (recycling) or two (recycling plus refuse – you help us decide) uniform, larger volume containers with lids and wheels at no additional cost.
  • Still cater to elderly or infirm residents who need at-the-door collection.
  • Still provide an opt-in, premium at-the-door service.
  • Provide a service discount for the community’s seniors.
  • Evenly spread the unavoidable costs associated with sending refuse, recycling and yard waste trucks and crews down every UA street, every week of every year.
  • Position us to take advantage of today’s advances in solid waste delivery – which means quicker collections, fewer broken containers, and a happier/healthier solid waste workforce.

So:

messy trash good trash
HOW DO WE GET FROM HERE? TO HERE?

Read on for a summary of a months-long review, community engagement and bid process that is helping us prepare for a new solid waste program in 2018.

About the Solid Waste Study
In preparation for the expiration of the City’s current Solid Waste contract in April of 2018, the City has been exploring service options available in the current solid waste market, seeking feedback from the community, and making preparations for a replacement contract. Due to the extensive nature of this particular municipal service, a minimum lead time of six months is required to select a vendor and prepare for what will likely be a change in service delivery.

Staff has studied the program’s history in depth, researching the practices of other communities, and seeking input from industry experts. While in the research phase, we reached out to residents several times for input, including:

  • A fall 2015 Focus Group
  • A Spring 2016 online survey, with approximately 1,900 responses
  • An online discussion via Open Town Hall, with over 300 participants
  • A letter enclosed with the February 2017 Stormwater and Solid Waste Utility bill

From the feedback obtained, many residents favor a move to standardized containers for trash and recycling. There was a preference for a fee structure based on usage, but less clarity on what its composition should be—with some residents in favor of different sized containers and pricing, and others preferring stickers. Many residents noted a frequent observance of blowing paper and trash. 

Decision Pending
In the spring of 2017 the City solicited quotes for various refuse and recycling options. Bids from three solid waste providers were received on June 21. Staff’s initial review of the results were presented to City Council at its Monday June 26 Council Meeting (CLICK HERE to view the presentation).

A final recommendation will be presented to Council for its endorsement in August, following the summer recess. In the lead up to these meetings, the City is reaching out to the community to share the results of this process and to seek one last round of resident feedback.

The community engagement and public hearing schedule is as follows:

  • Open Town Hall Survey – click the link to give us your feedback on some of the available options
  • Informational Public Meeting – 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 9, 3600 Tremont Road | View Presentation
  • Telephone Town Hall – Click HERE to listen to the audio file of the event 
  • First Council Reading & Public Hearing – 7:30 p.m., Monday, August 21, 3600 Tremont Road
  • Second Council Reading, Public Hearing, Council Action – 7:30 p.m., Monday, August 28, 3600 Tremont Road

Summary of Bid Results
While a detailed review of some service options and subsequent decision points leading to Staff’s final recommendation are yet to be worked through, all signs indicate that Local Waste is the “lowest and best” bidder. From this bid, three primary options have emerged.

PLEASE NOTE: the rates shown here are taken directly from the Local Waste quote. The monthly rates actually charged to each household could vary slightly based on a number of factors including administrative handling costs, recycling container color selected, etc.

Option 1

  • $17 per month | No limit to quantity of solid waste
  • 64-gallon recycling containers provided by the vendor
  • Residents provide their own solid waste containers
  • Yard waste & bulk items collected at no additional charge

Option 2

  • $17 per month | Solid waste limited to contents of container
  • 64-gallon recycling containers provided by the vendor
  • 64-or-96-gallon solid waste containers provided by the vendor
  • Unlimited solid waste following Fourth of July & Christmas holidays
  • Yard waste & bulk items collected at no additional charge

Option 3

  • $17.50 per month | No limit to quantity of solid waste
  • 64-gallon recycling containers provided by the vendor
  • 64-or-96-gallon solid waste containers provided by the vendor
  • Yard waste & bulk items collected at no additional charge

*Please view the June 26 presentation to Council for details of other bid options, including a much higher priced option for continuing the sticker program.

CLICK HERE TO TELL US WHICH OPTION YOU PREFER

About the Current System
The City currently uses a “sticker program” for the disposal of refuse and yard waste. Under this program, residents pay an annual fee along with a “one sticker per bag” fee to dispose of refuse and yard waste; recycling is collected at no additional cost. 

Since the implementation of the sticker program nearly 25 years ago, there have been many changes in the refuse & recycling industries. First and foremost, recycling disposal, once a revenue-producer for the City, now costs up to $20 per ton in disposal fees. Additionally, advancements in technology have allowed haulers to increase efficiencies in collection. The manual processes required with a sticker system do not allow haulers to use these cost-saving advancements.

Close monitoring of the current refuse and recycling collection system in recent months uncovered some recurring issues:

  • A large number of households do not put out any refuse at all
  • Household refuse is being illegally placed in private dumpsters and trash cans
  • Refuse and yard waste are being mixed with recycling
  • Lack of standardized containers results in blowing refuse and recycling on collection days, creating litter in the community
  • Bulk items are often placed at the curb with no stickers for extended periods of time

Under the current sticker program, a family that sets out one refuse container each week pays $214.80 annually for solid waste service ($2.90 X 52 weeks + $64 annual fee). This does not include any additional costs that may be incurred for yard waste and/or bulk item disposal or the inconvenience of taking yard waste to the drop-off facility on Roberts Road.

Previous Community Engagement & Feedback

  • Open Town Hall Survey - What should the future of residential trash & recycling services be in UA?
    Survey Closed September 5, 2016 with 302 responses  | Read Response Summary Here
  • Survey Monkey - Upper Arlington Solid Waste Services
    Survey Closed April 20, 2016 with 1,894 responses 
    • Notable results:
      • 64% of respondents supported a standardized container being used for household trash.
      • 69% of respondents supported a standardized container being used for recycling. 
      • Moving forward, 49% of respondents supported a new system that utilized proportional fees based on use, while 37.5% of respondents opposed this option. 
      • 41% of respondents supported a flat rate system, with 46% of respondents opposed to this option.
      • 47% of respondents supported retaining the current sticker program, with 34% opposed to this option.  
      • 27% of respondents acknowledged taking trash to private dumpsters or another municipality at least once a year to avoid paying for stickers.
      • 62% of respondents indicated that they frequently saw blowing trash or recycling items in their neighborhood.
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News & Notices

  • Streamlining Solid Waste Collection
    The first Council Reading & Public Hearing to discuss streamlining solid waste collection will be on Monday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. You can also listen to the audio file of Tuesday's Telephone Town Hall event here.
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