Representatives of four area garbage collection companies made a push for the city to not “get into the garbage business” Monday night and succeeded, for now.
Currently, the Richfield City Council is considering going through the legalities to be able to bid out collection of all the city’s trash to one hauler, in hopes of reducing costs for residents and promoting sustainability of roads and the environment.
However, haulers made many arguments against doing so.
“We are in favor of keeping the system the way it is,” said Bob Elliott, of Aspen Waste Systems and also a Richfield resident. “[The current system] gives everyone a chance to grow and keeps prices being competitive.”
Elliott added that school buses, which can travel up and down the roads up multiple times a day, and delivery couriers also contribute to the road wear and tear.
Mark Stolpman, general manager for Randy’s Environmental Services, echoed Elliott’s feelings toward city-run collection and also expanded on Elliott’s point about road wear and tear. According to Stolpman, garbage trucks are constructed and the wheels are weighted to be balanced and to not place uneven weight. In addition, weather conditions are also largely responsible for road wear and tear.
“Heat, sun, freeze, thaw,” he said. “The environment does a lot of damage.”
Stolpman also went further by saying a small decision like garbage collection doesn’t need to take up the city’s time.
“You have a lot of important decisions to make,” he said. “Who your hauler is, [just like] who your barber is, who your pharmacist is … citizens don’t want you making those decisions.”
According to Council Member Fred Wroge, there are six garbage haulers that are currently licensed to operate in Richfield. Quite obviously, going with just one collector would cause a loss of business for a handful of companies.
However, with the six current haulers and with residents able to chose their service, three trucks—compost, trash and recycling—could be traveling down every street on every pick-up day.
Mayor Debbie Goettel asked haulers for their ideas on another way to reach the city’s objectives without changing the current system, however no substantial ideas were brought to the forefront.
Currently the City of Maplewood is implementing a single-hauler system. With this knowledge, the council decided it would watch Maplewood’s experiences and also gather more information on the environmental impacts of garbage hauling. Stolpman will be part of a committee studying the environmental impacts and will likely share information with the council when it becomes available.