Contract for Trash

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Systems for trash and recycling collection

There are three ways that cities manage trash and recycling collections for households. Fort Collins currently has an open market for trash and recycling, meaning that each household shops for and chooses their own hauler, or hauls their own trash and recycling. There are currently three nationally-owned haulers in Fort Collins that service single-family homes: Waste Management, Republic Services (Gallegos Sanitation), Waste Connections (Ram Waste/Timberline Waste), and one new hauler called Mountain High Disposal.

Some cities do their own trash and recycling collection using city staff, equipment, and resources. Loveland is an example of a local city-owned and operated trash and recycling system.

Between a city-owned and operated system and an open-market system is a third option where a local city, county, or state contracts with one or more companies to provide trash and recycling collections. This is sometimes called franchising or contracting.

Fort Collins is considering whether to create a citywide contract for trash and recycling collection. This would mean that rather than each household selecting their own trash hauler, the City would contract with one hauler to service single-family homes in a neighborhood. There would be fewer trucks on each street, which would mean less wear and tear on roads and less emissions. If a household wanted to select a different hauler, they’d need to pay an opt-out fee.


What we’ve learned

We spoke with nine Colorado communities about their experiences with contracted systems for curbside trash and recycling services. When talking with them, City staff learned these communities have found the following benefits to a contracted collection system:

  • Fewer trash and recycling trucks servicing the same neighborhoods

  • Improved air quality and lower carbon emissions

  • Improved customer service

  • More recycling or composting options

  • Access to uniform pricing


Who’s included

The communities we talked to have contracts for trash and recycling services that apply to single-family homes and multi-family homes with seven or fewer units. Households that do not want to use the City contracted company can pay a monthly opt-out fee so that they can use the company they want. Some cities allow homeowners associations that already had contracts for trash and recycling to opt-in to the City contracts and some bring homeowners associations into their programs as their contracts expire.

Colorado law does not allow City contracts for trash and recycling services to apply to larger apartment or condo complexes, or businesses.


Cost

Many cities that moved to a contract for their trash and recycling services can offer households rates that are comparable or lower rates than prior to contracting. Homeowners’ associations commonly achieve this same type of bulk pricing when they contract a single hauler to service all the homes in the neighborhood. In both cases, the contracts in place allow a single company to provide services to a greater number of homes in one area, making their routes more efficient and leading to costs savings.


Customer Service and Billing

The cities we spoke to had differences when it came to how they manage customer service and billing. Many of the cities include curbside services with their monthly utility bill. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collection, providing billing in-house would mean customers still consistently receive bills from the city rather than from different companies.

Other cities choose to have their hauler directly bill households. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collection, the current service provider would have the advantage of having an established direct-bill relationship when a community seeks new proposals for service.

Many of the cities choose to have the contracted company handle customer service. This means that the contracted company would answer calls and requests related to things like missed collections, missing carts, or starting services at a new address. If a city manages customer service themselves, they would answer these calls and requests and relay needed information to the hauler.

Carts

The cities we spoke to vary the most when it comes to how they manage carts. Some cities choose to purchase carts themselves. This would mean that all carts in the neighborhood would have consistent colors for trash, recycling, and any other services included in the contract. These carts would likely have a city logo on them that would be different from the logo of the contracted company. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collections, using city-owned carts would mean that customers would never have to worry about switching their carts out for ones that use a different contracted company’s logo.

Some cities use the contracted company’s provided carts meaning that the colors and logos used would match the contracted company. Others asked each household to provide their own carts for trash and recycling collection.


View recordings of public meetings and Council presentations


Tell us what you think

  • Leave a question or comment below (1 minute)

  • Chat with or email City staff (30 mins)

*Please note: The first phase of engagement closed on April 14. Thank you to everyone in our community who took the time to share your thoughts!


Systems for trash and recycling collection

There are three ways that cities manage trash and recycling collections for households. Fort Collins currently has an open market for trash and recycling, meaning that each household shops for and chooses their own hauler, or hauls their own trash and recycling. There are currently three nationally-owned haulers in Fort Collins that service single-family homes: Waste Management, Republic Services (Gallegos Sanitation), Waste Connections (Ram Waste/Timberline Waste), and one new hauler called Mountain High Disposal.

Some cities do their own trash and recycling collection using city staff, equipment, and resources. Loveland is an example of a local city-owned and operated trash and recycling system.

Between a city-owned and operated system and an open-market system is a third option where a local city, county, or state contracts with one or more companies to provide trash and recycling collections. This is sometimes called franchising or contracting.

Fort Collins is considering whether to create a citywide contract for trash and recycling collection. This would mean that rather than each household selecting their own trash hauler, the City would contract with one hauler to service single-family homes in a neighborhood. There would be fewer trucks on each street, which would mean less wear and tear on roads and less emissions. If a household wanted to select a different hauler, they’d need to pay an opt-out fee.


What we’ve learned

We spoke with nine Colorado communities about their experiences with contracted systems for curbside trash and recycling services. When talking with them, City staff learned these communities have found the following benefits to a contracted collection system:

  • Fewer trash and recycling trucks servicing the same neighborhoods

  • Improved air quality and lower carbon emissions

  • Improved customer service

  • More recycling or composting options

  • Access to uniform pricing


Who’s included

The communities we talked to have contracts for trash and recycling services that apply to single-family homes and multi-family homes with seven or fewer units. Households that do not want to use the City contracted company can pay a monthly opt-out fee so that they can use the company they want. Some cities allow homeowners associations that already had contracts for trash and recycling to opt-in to the City contracts and some bring homeowners associations into their programs as their contracts expire.

Colorado law does not allow City contracts for trash and recycling services to apply to larger apartment or condo complexes, or businesses.


Cost

Many cities that moved to a contract for their trash and recycling services can offer households rates that are comparable or lower rates than prior to contracting. Homeowners’ associations commonly achieve this same type of bulk pricing when they contract a single hauler to service all the homes in the neighborhood. In both cases, the contracts in place allow a single company to provide services to a greater number of homes in one area, making their routes more efficient and leading to costs savings.


Customer Service and Billing

The cities we spoke to had differences when it came to how they manage customer service and billing. Many of the cities include curbside services with their monthly utility bill. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collection, providing billing in-house would mean customers still consistently receive bills from the city rather than from different companies.

Other cities choose to have their hauler directly bill households. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collection, the current service provider would have the advantage of having an established direct-bill relationship when a community seeks new proposals for service.

Many of the cities choose to have the contracted company handle customer service. This means that the contracted company would answer calls and requests related to things like missed collections, missing carts, or starting services at a new address. If a city manages customer service themselves, they would answer these calls and requests and relay needed information to the hauler.

Carts

The cities we spoke to vary the most when it comes to how they manage carts. Some cities choose to purchase carts themselves. This would mean that all carts in the neighborhood would have consistent colors for trash, recycling, and any other services included in the contract. These carts would likely have a city logo on them that would be different from the logo of the contracted company. If a city wanted to switch to a new company for curbside collections, using city-owned carts would mean that customers would never have to worry about switching their carts out for ones that use a different contracted company’s logo.

Some cities use the contracted company’s provided carts meaning that the colors and logos used would match the contracted company. Others asked each household to provide their own carts for trash and recycling collection.


View recordings of public meetings and Council presentations


Tell us what you think

  • Leave a question or comment below (1 minute)

  • Chat with or email City staff (30 mins)

*Please note: The first phase of engagement closed on April 14. Thank you to everyone in our community who took the time to share your thoughts!


Tell us what you think

Ask a question or leave your comment below lettings us know your thoughts on a citywide contract for curbside trash and recycling.

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Page last updated: 13 May 2022, 09:27 AM