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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.

Joanne DeZur December 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Now that people are more into recycling this means you will have 65 gallon containers with one small bag of garbage that will blow around the streets. Isn't there an even small garbage can that can be hoisted by the trucks ??
L. Shatava December 18, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I'm a senior and have no use whatsoever for a 65-gallon garbage can. In fact, I do so much recycling that most weeks I've only filled an 8-gallon garbage bag which I then put into a larger black bag and leave at the curb for pickup. If it now becomes necessary for me to drag a huge, heavy, ugly container down my driveway I'm going to fill it with absolutely every item that gets thrown out and someone else can save the planet. And by the way, who is to pay for these goliaths?
richjoe December 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM
tax payers pay; politicians pocket
Michael Loeffler December 18, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Did it ever occur to Bob Dunn that there was a 98% approval rating because people weren't paying for receptacles that are 2-3 times the size they need. Why did article not mention that these new garbage cans that are double and triple the size are going to cost more. Did it occur to anybody people won't want to pay more for containers that are larger but not necessary for their needs. Another garbage decision by our elmhurst government.
Mom3xs December 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM
This is TERRIBLE! Why in the world do we need BIGGER garbage cans?? What we need is bigger RECYCLE totes; the wheeled ones like all our neighboring towns have. We need to encourage people to recylce, not to create more waste. I can't believe this is how the city voted. And the article that said someone didn't want to change because citizens didn't want the day their garbage was picked up to change? Seriously? Clearly, you are NOT listening to your constituents. We have bigger fish to fry than what day our garbage gets picked up. This demands a re-vote and reconsideration.
L. Shatava December 18, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Bravo!
Doremus Jessup December 18, 2012 at 02:24 PM
The 65 gallon sounds interesting, what will the prices be and when can I trade my 96 gallon for a 65 gallon?
Marie Strauch December 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
We hardly ever fill up our 33 gallon garbage can each week. I don't like the idea of having to purchase a larger 65 gallon container and then having to pay more to have its contents disposed of each week. We not only recycle quite a bit, but compost as well to eliminate unnecessary waste in landfills.
Jim December 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM
One thing the article didn't mention is that we all now will get a 65 gallon recycling toter too, with lid and wheels. I use a 95 gallon now because 32 gallon is too small. I can trade down to a 65 gallon, pay less and recycle more with the larger recycling toter. This is a great deal for me, and I suspect many in Elmhurst.
Karen Chadra (Editor) December 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Those who use a 65-gallon toter will not have to pay more. This story has been updated with comments from Elmhurst Public Works Director Mike Hughes. Sorry for the confusion!
8675309 December 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thank you- our old town had BIG wheeled RECYCLE totes. We don't even recycle anymore b/c its not even worth it in that little recycle bin that BLOWS INTO THE STREET. Which was such a concern for them needing the bigger garbage totes.
Dana Caffrey December 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Very interesting article. People will now have the reason to do recycling. Recycling is quite a hard thing to do, but if the family gets used to it, it will be an easy thing. Plus, the family can save from this trash cans. TrashcansUnlimited.com
Jeanne rossal December 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
How to get a 65 gal toter??????????
L. Shatava December 18, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I don't see where the article supplies a reason for recycling. In fact, it doesn't mention it at all. It's only brought up in readers' comments. I personally recycle far more than I throw out but I fear that will change if forced to use a garbage receptacle six times larger than I presently require.
elmhurst resident December 18, 2012 at 06:12 PM
This is nuts!!! Always telling tax payers what to do!!!! Since our tax money pays for their jobs!
David Dell December 18, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Previously, the use of a small container encouraged recycling, so as to save fees on a second small container. With a larger container, even the recycling materials will fit. So now we have a proposal which will discourage many from recycling. And it sure looks like this will increase the cost to us. At least we still have the right to vote.
LunchLadyU December 18, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I totally agree with Marie. A can that size takes up too much room and is too cumbersome to haul around. With recycling and composting we should be moving towards less waste and smaller cans. We already pay attention to what day garbage is picked up due to holiday schedules, so that should not be an obstacle to changing the pickup day.
anthony flood December 18, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Another absurd position form City Management and our elected Aldermen. For the past 15 months I have lived in Germany. I came here thinking I knew how to minimize the waste I sent to the landfill - my Elmhurst 33 gal was rarely half full even when our family count was four. In Germany they actually incinerate - also a much greener proposition. I was amazed to see how combining recycling with compost pick up reduced the garbage haul even more so ( not to mention the reduced load through composting on waste water treatment infrastructure ). And now I read, with no choice on my part, I am being "upgraded" to a 65 gal monster. Way to encourage waste to landfill waste minimization Elmhurst! Do we live in a progressive community or not? Oh - I forgot. We do live in a progressive Community - when it comes to taxation that is. Tony Flood
Susan Eget December 18, 2012 at 10:53 PM
And how do I go about getting someone to bring my new - much more expensive - 65 gal can out to the curb? My 33 gal can was rarely half full and I had trouble getting it out to the street. Once again, you are only thinking about the big families who live in Elmhurst not small households. We pay pay pay pay - for benefits we don't use, don't need, and that, in fact, are detrimental to us. I will soon be paying for at least 4 times as much "rubbish removal" as I can possibly use, and way more than my bad knees or back can handle. Plus, I'll have to figure out how to get that bigger garbage can to my house - I doubt it will fit in my car. Maybe you can arrange for that Park District tax rate increase of over 3% to cover setting up a kids group who moves garbage cans to the street and back for those of us who don't have the strength to move our own. Or maybe you can set-up every other week pick up for those who just don't have much garbage, at half the cost. In 16 years, I have needed more than 1 33 gal garbage can exactly ONCE!
Steve December 19, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The positive thing that came out of this is that there will be a new 65 gallon toter with a cover for recycling.
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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