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UPDATED: City Will Not Trash Relationship With Allied Waste, But the Days of 33-Gallon Cans are Numbered

Some residents will have to get used to a new, larger can.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated with comments from Elmhurst's Public Works Director Mike Hughes.

Elmhurst residents will continue to see Allied Waste trucks on neighborhood streets three days per week, but those trucks will soon only be grabbing garbage from 65- and 95-gallon receptacles.

The City Council on Monday approved keeping Allied as its refuse collector following a request for qualifications process that began last month. The $15 million contract with Allied includes an average of a 3.6 percent increase in the amount the city will be charged for service over five years. For 2013, costs will actually decrease from $2.95 to $2.8 million.

What will change are the two types of containers residents will haul to the curb. The 33-gallon can option will no longer be available. Instead, residents will have the option of a 65- or a 95-gallon toter.

The lack of a smaller option bothered 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Bram, who worried that senior citizens would not find the 65-gallon toter as convenient.

But 6th Ward Alderman Steve Morley said he looked forward to the larger containers—and perhaps to the end of smaller cans blowing over and spilling contents on the street.

First Ward Alderman Paula Pezza, who joined Bram in requesting a review of the city's garbage vendor options, thanked staff and the city's Public Works Committee for issuing the request for qualifications, which she said had not been done since the mid-1990s.

“We did see many options,” she said. “That's what it's all about.”

Last week, the Public Works Committee considered proposals from four waste haulers, one of which, Veolia, submitted a proposal for a four-day-per-week pickup schedule. Aldermen considered it because of a potential cost savings, but decided savings that would come from this contract would not be worth it.

At least one-quarter of homes would see a different collection day with Veolia. But the main difference between Veolia's and Allied Waste's proposal is that Allied is less expensive on the 65 gallon toter, Public Works Director Mike Hughes told Elmhurst Patch on Tuesday.

"By choosing Allied Waste over Veolia, approximately 80 percent of Elmhurst residents will be paying less for their garbage service in each of the next five years," Hughes said. "Granted, 20 percent will be paying more. That would be the 95-gallon toter users. This odd imbalance in the bid prices is where the $500,000 (savings) comes from. All of those 'savings' would have been seen only by the 95-gallon toter users."

With Allied, residents who select the 95-gallon toter will pay less for their toter in 2013 than in 2012. In 2014, they will pay one cent more per month than they did in 2012.

"So, in Allied Waste's proposal, of the five years of 65 gallon service, they are cheaper than Veolia," Hughes said. "And on the 95-gallon they're cheaper than they are now for the next two years."

Another reason for sticking with Allied was that residents are satisfied with their current hauler, 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Dunn said. On the recent citizen survey, he noted, 98 percent of respondents rated garbage pickup as fair or better.

This contract sets rates between the city and Allied. The council will get into specifics about the rates the city charges residents during the next budget process, 7th Ward Alderman Jim Kennedy said.

The council also approved water rate increases for residential and commercial users.

As of Jan. 1, the rate for residents will go from $6.41 per 1,000 gallons to $7.18 per 1,000 gallons. Commercial rates will go from $9.61 to $10.76.

Finance Committee Chairman and 4th Ward Alderman Stephen Hipskind told the council that the increase was being passed on to the city by the DuPage Water Commission, which is in turn paying more for Lake Michigan water from the city of Chicago.

Steve December 19, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I would encourage all to go to the next city council meeting in January to voice your concerns.
Loretta December 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
If there is to be a 65-gallon recycling toter it would have been nice if it had been mentioned in the news article. A larger, easier to handle recycling container may induce people to downsize from a 95-gallon garbage receptacle and do more recycling. Apparently that would be cheaper for them as well. However, why force those of us with minimal refuse to get something larger? Is the issue here that the workers don't want to have to manually empty the 33-gallon cans? I would think that the pickup would be quicker that way than having to wait for the larger cans to be hoisted. I plan to attend the next meeting, and hope for more information at that time.
Garbage In, Garbage Out December 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Every home in Elmhurst will get a 65 gallon recycling can, with wheels and a lid. That's much larger than most of us have now. All free of charge. Recycle as much as you want/can. Garbage companies are moving to automated lifting garbage trucks that lift the toters so the garbage men don't have to. Cuts down on injuries and workmens comp. Which cuts down cost. Most likely, the city did not have a choice to move to toters. 32 gallon toters are tall and narrow (in order to fit the truck lifter) and tend to knock down or blow down easily and spill trash everywhere. The 65 and 95 make more sense from a collection standpoint. People who have 95 gallon now will downsize to the smaller 65. Save money, less trash. Recycling is a personal choice. People will or won't because the want to, not because of what kind of bin they have. This program appears to make it easier to recycle...and cost less than we are paying now and let's face it, if the city would have choosen a program that this group thinks was "greener" but cost more, then a whole different group of people complains about it.
CS December 21, 2012 at 03:12 PM
There is also a 48 gallon toter option, providing more stability over the 32 gallon toter. Why is this not an option? Our family of 4 rarely fills up our current 33 gallon can, we just simply aren't in need of a 65 gallon toter.
Steve December 25, 2012 at 01:06 PM
@CS - good question!

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