Decision Points

City Council approves changes to garbage/recycling service, effective January 2011

The Round Rock City Council voted unanimously Thursday, Aug. 26, to implement a new garbage and recycling program beginning in January 2011. Under the new program, Round Rock Refuse will provide residents with two 96-gallon containers, one for garbage and one for recycling. Garbage will be collected once per week and recycling collected every other week.

Currently, garbage is picked up twice weekly, and customers provide their own containers. Curbside recycling pickup is offered on a subscription basis.

The City has been reviewing this program change for some time, and we appreciate the many comments received on the last post on this topic.

This new program will increase residential customers’ monthly rate to $16.91. The City’s current pre-tax garbage collection rate is $13.95 per month. Customers who have added curbside recycling pickup pay an additional $4 per month. Subscription service will be eliminated once the new program is in place.

Diverting waste from landfills has become a bottom line issue as well as an environmental one. Landfill costs will increase 5 percent a year for the next three years; this is on top of a doubling of costs in 2009. In addition to reducing the amount of unnecessary material going into landfills, the new program will save significant wear and tear on City streets as garbage trucks will make fewer trips.

Comments

mike.wisbauer said:

What if we have just bought our own 96 Gal container and barely have room for one in our garage. Also I have a large family and we can barely wait half a week for the pick up and now I have to wait a hole week. I under stand the rate increase but why once a week and why do I have to use the container provided if I already have one. What a waste of money.

# August 28, 2010 5:06 PM

lgracia said:

I know this is a point that causes polemic among any group of people but I just want to add my two cents. As of today, the city of round rock already has a program for recycling, and whoever wants to recycle is allowed to. Now, is it wise to force people to recycle, those who don't or don't want to, in order to save money and land-field space? are we not the ones who pay the taxes and pay for the land-field space anyways? We will be paying for recycling services instead of land-field rights? did anyone make a study on what is more expensive? and can we see it, if there is one? Maybe this is a good idea, but we wouldn't mind seeing all the research behind it.

# August 31, 2010 8:50 AM

Will Hampton said:

@mike.wisbauer

Sorry if you just purchased a new container, but there's never a perfect time to implement a program like this, which affects customers citywide. And we suspect a lot of us will have to work to make room in our garage for two containers.

Two of our neighboring cities, Cedar Park and Pflugerville, have implemented a weekly garbage and every-other-week recycling schedule with very few complaints/problems. We suspect that as more of us get used to recycling, our garbage volume will decrease. That was the experience of many who participated in our pilot program last year.

Still, if the one 96 gallon container isn't enough for your large family, Round Rock Refuse has promised to pick up any additional garbage set on the curb once the new program begins.  

Will Hampton

Communications Director

City of Round Rock

218-5409

# September 2, 2010 8:03 AM

Stace said:

I am NOT happy about this new garbage program.  Firstly, I do NOT recycle and in fact, this will NOT make me recycle.  I throw ALL my garbage into ONE container and that's that.  I WILL continue to put my garbage out as I have always done.  You can make us pay higher rates, but you sure as hell will NOT make us recycle!!!!!  Your 96-gallon container is TOO big for our use since we only put out 3 13-gallon trash bags per week.  On occasion 1 33-gallon with yard waste.  As for the recycling container, we will NOT use it.  If you insist on giving it to us, I will put it to BETTER use by collecting rain water in it for my yard and my plants.  We have no room in our garage for these containers and will NOT make any room for them.  I will store them in the back yard to collect rain water.  We are barely making ends meet.  I am currently unemployed and my roommate has only a temp to perm job since he was LAID OFF from Dell 2 years ago.  The rise in garbage rates is going to cut our water usage quite a bit.  I'm sure that makes you happy.  Well, that means I will only be able to shower once a week.  I am fed up living in this god-forsaken city full of morons.  In fact, I strongly believe MORONS run it.  I am looking forward to the day to move from this damn city.  I've only lived here 8 years and this has been the WORST city I have ever lived in.  I really thought WACO was bad, but, in my opinion, Round Rock takes that prize with NO competition.  

# September 9, 2010 10:47 PM

jvinson said:

I have lived in many states and been involved many different recycling programs. From the customer point of view, I have seen a pay as you go, free, and free if you have something for every scheduled pickup. The important point is that the recycle programs to help the environment and in these trying economic times a recycle program that increases refuge pickup charges can be degrading to the bottom line of the individual budget.

In McMinnville Oregon the privet organization that is running the recycling plant charged nothing for the pickup of the recycle program and the organization reports $500,000 to $1,000,000 annually of revenue (1). The privet organization is self-sustaining and balances the selling of the recycled products against the operating expenses to balance the books and offer the pickup free. Inclusive of the recycling program was the necessity of the City to not allow trimmings from trees, bushes, and lawns to not be placed within the land fill. This offered another resource of revenue by purchasing a compost-turning machine that produced perfect mulch that the City was able to purchase, citizens received an amount for free, and can be purchased by the landscapers in packaged or truckloads as needed.

The recycling products gathered from the individual household and businesses will be processed, separated, and sold. Because the City of Round Rock will be processing and selling the recycle products and selling the products, we will need to request the projected financials to ensure that there is a need to charge the individuals for their pickups. In addition, let us stop the grass and trimmings from going into the land fill as an ordinance and let us create compost to sell to beautify the City and neighborhoods.

Thank you for listening

References:

(1)  www.manta.com/.../recovery-zone-recycling-center

# November 22, 2010 6:55 AM

jsantos said:

I'm very excited about the new program you are implementing January 1, and hope it encourages more people on my street to recycle.   I don't understand the negative comments above regarding recycling - why would anyone want more trash filling up the countryside?  And think of the money you can save by buying fewer garbage bags, which you won't need nearly as many of when you put all your plastics, cans, cereal boxes, etc.  straight into the recycling bin!  I hate to differ with Kermit on this one - but this makes it easy to be green!  Thank you for having the long term vision to implement this program.    

My new containers arrived today and I have a question about glass.  The poster you have on line says you will take glass in the new green bins, but the FAQ answer does not list glass in the items accepted.  Can I put glass in the new recycling containers?  If so, can you please update the FAQ answer on-line to reflect that so others will know they can too?  

Thanks!

# November 26, 2010 4:11 PM

Alberto said:

I love this. We have been waiting for something like this to happen. I feel that it really brings the sense of community to our neighborhood, even though there are some people who don't see it that way. I feel that any unfortunate consequences that some may experience do not come close to outweighing the positive and great effects of this.  Maybe now, our recycling won't be building up as we wait to take it to the recycling center. Kudos to you Round Rock, for taking the initiative!

# December 3, 2010 3:11 PM

Will Hampton said:

@jsantos -- Yes, you can put glass in the new containers.

# December 3, 2010 4:26 PM

MsSchrader said:

I don't disagree with the concept of recycling.  I have actually  been paying my lawn man and #1 helper to take stuff to the recycling center periodically when he runs other errands for me.   I have saved and I have sorted what I saved.   Plastic, paper, cans, cardboard. What I don't do is look at every plastic container to see if it is recycleable.   They get it all.  I don't put food containers in the paper/cardboard and I have been sorting the paper from the cardboard.  They are going to be paying someone to sort it all now - the plastic from the paper from the glass etc.  So if they want my recycling they are going to get it all - if they don't want to take it and sort it I'll just put it all in the trash.    They can't expect the consumer to do everything and pay for it to.

# December 10, 2010 12:43 AM

kellysaurusrex said:

So what do we do with our old trash cans? Will pick-up take them if left on the curb?

# December 10, 2010 3:26 PM

Will Hampton said:

@ kellysaurusrex -- Tape a note to your old trash can(s) to let the folks with Round Rock Refuse know you want it taken away, and they will do so.

# December 10, 2010 4:23 PM

gprrtx said:

If the paper items get wet & yucky & mildewy are they still good for recycling or will it be trashed at the recycling center? The problem I have had with the green bins is that if the lid is wet from rain from sitting outside or dew, when I open it it gets the inside wet which gets the paper items wet and the bottom of the container is holding water which will get more stuff wet when it is emptied. The way the lid is designed, if there is any water on top it will drain inside when it is lifted.  Also if I throw items in there that are rinsed out it gets the paper wet.   It doesn't seem practical to recycle the paper, fiberboard and cardboard with the plastics and metals.  

# December 28, 2010 9:33 AM

Brooks Bennett said:

@gprrtx I brought up your concern with Ralph Rocco at Round Rock Refuse and he said a reasonable amount of moisture getting in the cart is okay and will not effect their ability to recycle the material.

# December 28, 2010 9:54 AM

NOGirl said:

How are Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs to be disposed of?

Light bulbs cannot be recycled per the recycling instructions, but since the CFL bulbs contain mercury, I would imagine they shouldn’t be put in the garbage either as land fills would be contaminated.  I had heard that the mercury could be extracted and reused, but don’t know if this is the case.  In the not too distant future we will be inundated with these as people change from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs.  How are we to dispose of these?

# January 3, 2011 4:17 PM

Will Hampton said:

@NOGirl You can dispose of CFLs at the City's Recycle Center, 310 Deepwood Drive. They are accepted daily.

# January 4, 2011 8:31 AM

Shiraz said:

The 96-gallon containers are adequate for families that have 3 or more people, and have large houses. For those residents that have small houses and are only 1 or 2 persons in the family, the 96-gallon containers are too large not only for the amount of waste produced, but also bulky and very difficult to store because of the reduced space in their houses.

The smaller containers available, (30-gallon containers for trash and 18-gallon containers for recycling) are not big enough for families with 1 or 2 persons.

THE SAME AS WITH OTHER "DECISIONS" MADE BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL, THIS IS A POOR AND DEFICIENT RECYCLE SYSTEM, AS IT DOES

NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE NEEDS OF ALL THE R.ROCK RESIDENTS

# January 24, 2011 5:13 PM

Shiraz said:

The 96-gallon containers are adequate for families that have 3 or more people, and have large houses. For those residents that have small houses and are only 1 OR 2 persons in the family, the 96-gallon containers are too large not only for the amount of waste produced, but also bulky and very difficult to store because of the reduced space in their houses.

The smaller containers available, (30-gallon containers for trash and 18-gallon containers for recycling) are not big enough for families with 1 OR 2 persons.

THIS IS ANOTHER POOR "DECISION" MADE BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL. INSTEAD OF DESIGNING A SYSTEM THAT SOLVES THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY NEIGHBORING TOWNS WITH THIS TYPE OF RECYLING, THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO COPY A DEFICIENT SYSTEM THAT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST A LARGE PORTION OF THE RESIDENTS. POOR GOVERNMENT THAT WE SHOULD CHANGE ASAP.

# January 24, 2011 5:28 PM

ilene said:

The Mayor and City Council have really let the people of Round Rock down in a big way by turning our neighborhoods into big dump sites where dumpsters can sit on the curb 24/7.

The city has no provision to protect neighborhoods from neighbors who leave their city-issued dumpsters on the street. Austin has rules that say trash cans are allowed on the street only on the day of pickup. Why doesn't Round Rock have this protection?

The city says it wants to help declining neighborhoods but is taking no action to do it. Letting trash cans sit on the street 24/7 is an example of that. These trash cans are blight on neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods with deed restrictions, such as HOAs, aren't concerned about this because their deed restrictions prohibit trash cans from sitting on the street for any length of time.

The city says it has no plans to restrict trash cans sitting on the street. So the city is saying it is not concerned with blight in the city or concerned about residents who are upset that neighborhoods have been turned into trash dumps.

# March 2, 2011 6:54 PM

Christy said:

I am thrilled that the new recycling program with the 96 gallon containers is in place.  It feels great to finally be able to recycle glass also.  We fill our container to the brim and it's nice knowing that we are helping conribute to a better environment.  As always, Round Rock leads the way on staying on top of current trends.

# August 14, 2011 12:35 PM

Christy said:

Dear Round Rock Refuse,

I am one of your customers and I’m writing to express my interest in becoming part of the Recyclebank rewards program. This program will allow my household and others in my neighborhood to receive rewards, like groceries, merchandise and discounts to local businesses, for recycling at home. I think this is an important program for the environment, your customers and your business.

By adding the Recyclebank program to your list of services you will have a unique offering over and above other service providers in our area. Plus, I would happily recommend my trash/ recycling program to neighbors and friends if we got rewarded for recycling.

Please consider giving your customers the Recyclebank program as it will most certainly keep me a satisfied customer and one that is loyal to your services.

Recyclebank partners with communities in dozens of other ways. Learn more by emailing them at hauler@Recyclebank.com.

I’m looking forward to your response – and to hopefully seeing the Recyclebank rewards program in our neighborhood soon!

Sincerely,

Christy

# August 14, 2011 12:40 PM

e149 said:

472/3500 = 13.5% or let me say 15%.

So we have turned our homes/neighborhoods into landfills by having to keep trash there twice as long for a measly 15% not going into the landfill. How much was recycled before you made all of us do it?

“New residential trash, recycling program went into effect January 2011

The Round Rock City Council voted unanimously Thursday, Aug. 26, to implement a new recycling program beginning in January 2011. Under the new program, Round Rock Refuse will provide residents with two 96-gallon containers, one for garbage and one for recycling. Garbage will be collected once per week and recycling collected every other week.  The new monthly rate for residential customers is $16.91 (pre-tax). [Pay more for less. Why? That is our city council hard at work for us.]

Diverting waste from landfills has become a bottom line issue as well as an environmental one. [You want the growth but aren’t willing to pay for the bad that that causes. Why was trash ever picked up twice a week if once was sanitary, like apparently it is now?] Landfill costs doubled in 2009 [Why? If the rates doubled in 2009, then why did you not implement this in 2008 or 2009? Why did you wait until 2 years later? Ah yes, that is city planning at its finest.] and will continue to increase 5 percent a year for the next three years. [Was does that have to do with this? The amount recycled is minor. So we are paying to recycle instead of get paid for recycling?] In addition to reducing the amount of unnecessary material going into landfills, the new program will save significant wear and tear on City streets as garbage trucks will make fewer trips.” [OMG: 3 garbage trucks instead of 4 every two weeks. Wow quite a savings there. And yet we are paying more for less service. Actually you did have voluntary recycling before. Now these trucks just go everywhere instead of just a few places. This makes the trucks’ impact just that much worse. For garbage for example—how many trips did the trucks have to make when the garbage was half as much as it is now  (picked up twice a week as opposed to more trash once a week?) Actually, for example, instead of making say 3 trips twice a week they make 6 trips once a week. How does that save wear and tear on the streets? They sill have to pick up just as much garbage per week. Then they make a special trip just pick up 15% or less, 26 times a year? Can I bill the city for cleaning up flies, roach, mouse, rat, and other critter infestations that may occur now that garbage stands around my house and everyone’s house as well for a full week instead of just 3 or 4 days? Can I bill them for deodorizing the area because of the increased stench?]

Also, you want us to store this garbage in our garages? God can yo imagine stench then. It is bad enough outside.

# September 30, 2011 2:30 PM

Will Hampton said:

@e149 Here's a response from Michael Thane, Utilities and Environmental Services Director:

Prior to the new program, the City was recycling about 3 percent of the solid waste generated in the City from residential customers. With the new program, we are now recycling about 15 percent of the solid waste generated. This number should continue to rise going into the future as we continue to promote recycling and why it is important to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.

The landfill disposal rates will continue to go up in the future. This new program promotes recycling. As the City recycles more, we should receive more revenue from the sale of commodities. The City is in discussion now about how do give that money back to our customers. One possibility is providing a “recycling credit” on your utility bill. More to come on this in the near future.

For as long as we can remember, the City was providing twice-a-week pickup for our residents. We began talking about this new program of once a week trash and either once a week recycling or every other week recycling back in 2008. Because of the cost of buying the containers and the perception that we are providing less service (twice a week vs once a week trash pickup), the City was diligent in developing the best program for our City. We conducted a pilot study for about 6 weeks to evaluate the new program. Then the commodity market dropped, so we delayed implementation for a little while. It is difficult to determine the wear on our streets, but by reducing the number of days, there are fewer trips on our streets with the new program.

We heard your concern about odor from many when the program first came out. The containers do not have to be stored in the garage. Many citizens store them on the side of their house, behind their privacy fence.  We have not been hearing many complaints about this issue lately.

# October 5, 2011 10:28 AM
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