City switches to one trash pick-up service

Rebekah Maple

Residents must join program by March 2010

Kent’s streets are becoming cleaner and better maintained all because of a new citywide trash program.

Eugene Roberts, public service director for the city of Kent, said residents previously chose their own trash collector and only did business with them. Trash pick-up days were different for everyone, and there was no way for the city to manage the cans that were sitting out, he said.

Roberts said the city is divided into four quadrants, and trash pick-up day is determined by where a resident lives.

“One of the things that deters from the quality of neighborhoods is the fact that every day of the week, someone has a trash can sitting out,” Roberts said. “Now, as everybody migrates onto the city program for trash and recycling, everything goes out on one day and is gone the next.”??

Not only is the new program clearing cans off people’s front lawns, it is also minimizing the wear and tear of the streets and saving residents money, he said.

Roberts said the Minnesota Department of Transportation did an extensive study and found that one trash truck is equivalent to 1,500 automobile trips. Therefore, the city is saving its pavement by decreasing the number of heavy truck trips.

??Residents were unknowingly signing up for unlimited trash service and not using it, Roberts said. Some, he added, would only put out one can a week. Now, their bills are reduced, and prices are based on the amount of trash residents put out each week. He said bills lowered from approximately $20 to $9 per month.

R&R Sanitation Inc. is Kent’s new collective trash service. General Manager Gary Vincent said the company used to have only 25 percent of Kent’s business, and now it has 100 percent. The services reaches 5,000 homes in Kent and is able to offer lower prices because its trucks make door-to-door stops.

??Vincent said he is pleased with the new change. Because of the increase in business, he said R&R has hired two new employees and purchased two more trucks. ??Starting March 1, 2010, the citywide program will be mandatory. This gives people time to switch from their current trash collector. Roberts said if residents haven’t signed up by then, the contractor will, by ordinance, bill the individual for a two-can service.

“Looking outward, I would like to think that ultimately the city streets will look cleaner and people will become more responsive,” he said. “There’s always going to be hiccups along the way, but I think we’ve provided a contingency for everything we’re aware of.”

Contact public affairs reporter Rebekah Maple at [email protected].