A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Weekly yard debris service proposed

Written March 23rd, 2015 by Hasso Hering
Would emptying carts weekly demand  even more yard work?

Would emptying carts weekly demand even more yard work?

If the Albany City Council agrees with a proposal by Republic Services, the company will pick up yard debris weekly instead of every other week, but it will charge more too.

The additional pickups would raise the price of trash service $3 a month, the company told the council Monday. Weekly pickup would also enable the company to accept household food waste in the same cart as yard debris. Food waste recycling is already available in Corvallis and Philomath and is being started in Lebanon. The company recycles yard debris and food scraps at Pacific Region Compost on Camp Adair Road.

Kevin Hines and Julie Jackson of Republic Services presented their proposal at a city council work session. The council would have to authorize the additional service and the price increase in order for the change to be made in Albany. With two members absent and excused, the council made no decision Monday, and City Manager Wes Hare said the proposal will be presented again at a forthcoming meeting. (If a date was mentioned, I didn’t hear it.)

Republic had surveyed its more than 5,000 Albany customers by email and got nearly 1,200 responses. Of those, 631 said they preferred weekly yard debris pickup, 740 said they would support a weekly yard debris program that included food scraps, 915 said they would find a weekly schedule more convenient, and 677 said they might be able to reduce the volume of their other trash if they could put food scraps and yard waste into yard debris carts picked up weekly. None of the questions mentioned the additional cost.

Republic, formerly Allied Waste, and Albany-Lebanon Sanitation before that, picks up trash and commingled recycling every week, and that would not change.

If the council authorizes the expanded service, Hines said the company could get it going in 60 days. And no, if the change is made, customers will not be able to opt out and keep yard debris service every two weeks because that would make weekly service too expensive for those who want it. (hh)

16 responses to “Weekly yard debris service proposed”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    A weekly yard debris pickup from spring to fall makes more sense (April – September) than paying the fee every month. In the late fall and winter I can go months without filling the bin.

  2. Shawn Dawson says:

    I don’t see a need for this expense. Most weeks we do not fill up our yard cart, and when we do get ambitious, it’s fairly easy to pile up the dead branches and shrubs that don’t fit into the cart all in one week, and put them out in two.

    Every week service would be wasted on us.

    Gordon’s comment above about perhaps a 6 month service of this type, spring through fall, may make sense as a compromise, if the city does approve this. But I’d rather not approve this proposal.

    I think the city needs to do their own homework, going door to door, through surveys or just standing outside the post office talking to locals, before approving, what amounts to another $36 fee on every household in the city.

    It’s one thing to ask, ‘would you like to have weekly yard waste pickup?’, and another thing altogether to ask, ‘would you pay $36/year for this extra service?’

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Having a 30 gal. can, my bill is $36.62 every 2 months.
      A $6 increase is 16% increase for me. My SS COL increase was 1.7%.
      Even worse for those with a 20 gal. can. Around 20%.

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    I filled out the survey and found it to be pretty biased for providing weekly service.
    They claimed people use it frequently 10 months out of the year. I find that to be totally bogus. I can get by with every other week during the “busy” 3-4 months by using a bit of planning when I mow the lawn.
    One can also dump yard clippings in the garbage can if they want as much as they would hate that.

    ONE MAIN PROBLEM I see with Republic Services is they won’t accept cash for payment. HOW can that be legal? I actually find it UNAMERICAN, since it states right on our currency “for all debts public and private”.!
    I think the city council should refuse to allow them to do business in the city until they do.
    Of course these sheep will go along with the increase because they get a few more pennies per month from the “Privilege Tax”.

    I wouldn’t be against it as much if this was a March-May thing. After that, most everybody’s lawn is brown because we can’t afford to water.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      I made a mistake in an earlier reply to this post, incorrectly asserting that the trash franchise does not call for a city tax. Actually, as Marilyn Smith of City Hall says: “The City of Albany charges Republic Services a franchise fee of 6% on gross receipts. (Albany Municipal Code 3.28.060) For the last couple of years, those fees have averaged about $450,000/year. They go to the general fund.”

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Well, well, well. We now know what truly motivates both Republic and the City. And it ain’t improved service levels to customers.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Are you certain it is an increase of $3 per month?

    Republic currently bills me $36.62 every other month whether I use their service or not. I am thankful for their service during the times I use it.

    If the bill goes up to $42.62 every other month that is a 16.4% increase! For a service I will only use about half the time, so now we’re in the 30-35% increase range!

    I can understand what motivates Republic, but why do I get the feeling that the city council views this level of pain on it residents as a good thing?

  5. Richard Vannice says:

    What does “Household food waste” include. Most composting information says DO NOT include, meat, bones, or fat as those items tend to draw pests (rats, mice, etc). My wife pointed out another flaw for the chef of the house – it means an extra container to collect those “recycled items” in to carry them out to the yard wast bin. Extra steps that I’m sure many will agree with.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The Republic reps told the council that meat scraps and such were now OK to recycle with other food waste. The question of temporary storage came up. The company discourages the use of plastic bags to discard food waste in, even though some plastic bags are claimed to be suitable for this as they decompose. Some households put their food waste in the freezer until the time comes to dump it in the cart. One councilor wondered whether the carcasses of nutria would be acceptable, and the answer, if I understood it, was no. (hh)

  6. Bill Kapaun says:

    Since Lebanon has had this foisted upon them, why not have Republic survey those customers 6 months from now?
    Then they could report their findings to the city council, which could make a MORE INFORMED DECISION. (are you listening Ray?)

    As it stands now, if this were to pass, Republic would start implementing this “service” right at the tail end of the busy yard debris season. That’s $.75 for every house they drive by that doesn’t have a yard cart placed at the curb.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      I don’t understand the point about 75 cents.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        For at least 6 months of the year, people will have no use for yard trash carts, so they won’t put them out. I can’t imagine people putting in a few pounds of “food scraps” and then hauling the cart to the curb every week nor letting the scraps rot until the can is full enough to justify moving it.
        So, every time the truck drives by without picking up the cart, that’s $.75 worth of service you pay for, but don’t use. (I know, the two 5 week months would only be $.60 per trip wasted)
        We get 26 MORE pick ups per year for an ADDITIONAL $36. That’s about 42-46 more pick ups than I need.
        A customer has the option of purchasing an additional yard cart. Let those that think they need it, buy it.

        • Shawn Dawson says:

          Hi Bill,

          I hadn’t considered the option of just offering a 2nd cart for those who generate 2 cartloads every 2 weeks. That suggestion sounds logical to me.

          I encourage the council to say no to this extra, unnecessary, service offer.

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    If nutria carcass is not acceptable I suppose that dog, cat, rabbit, etc. would also be classed the same. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a service such as this abused in that way. What has the experience been in locations with this service? I don’t see how they are going to be able to determine whether or not any non-acceptable item is placed in the cart. There are times of the year that this service would be a big help for my household, but not for a full twelve months.

  8. Jim Engel says:

    Great.. so now the homeless that prowl my street on garbage day looking for pop cans in recycling bins we’ll have the hungry ones looking for scraps from the steak dinner I had last night..(I wish I could afford!)..JE


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