Waste Connections Logo

New recycling carts are expected to arrive for Washington residents this month.

Public Works Director John Nilges said Waste Connections, the city’s new trash hauler, is expected to have the carts ready for residents by the middle of May. The goal is to have the carts in place before the company takes over starting June 1.

Curbside recycling will resume in the city that week. The program has been suspended since March because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Under the new program, every resident will be delivered a 64-gallon cart to use exclusively for recycling. Recyclable items, including cardboard for the first time, can be put into the cart. 

Recycling will be picked up on customers’ first and third pickup days of the month. The pickups will take place on the same day as trash pickup.

For example, a resident who has Thursday pickups will have recycling picked up Thursday, June 4, and Thursday, June 18.

A full calendar can be found on the city’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/cityofwashingtonmo.

Residents can make arrangements to return the carts, but the city is encouraging residents to try out the new program.

Big Trash Week

The city postponed its big trash week scheduled in April because of the coronavirus. A makeup date is being discussed.

As part of its contract, Waste Connections will do two big trash pickups a year. Making up the one missed in April, however, is not part of the plan.

Nilges said Waste Connections will have a big pickup this fall. The city has been discussing hosting its own to make up for the missing spring event.

“We would have the capabilities to do that,” he said.

Under a possible scenario, Nilges said Waste Connections could go through and pick up residential trash with the city following behind picking up the bulky loads.

“How we do that, I haven’t thought that all the way through,” said Nilges, adding if the city does its own big pickup to make up for the postponed event, it would be in mid to late June.

Nilges did note that Waste Connections will offer this service to residents at different times of the year. For a fee, Waste Connections will haul off larger items at any time if an appointment is made. 

New Contract

Waste Connections was awarded a contract in April to take over the city’s solid waste collection beginning June 1.

The deal begins June 1 and expires May 31, 2025. The initial term may be extended with two one-year terms if both sides agree.

The city received four bids for the waste hauling. The bidders were Grace Hauling ($1,116,780 per year), Meridan ($1,182,294 per year), Waste Connections ($1,183,855.92 per year) and Republic ($1,299,820.92 per year).

After checking references and existing services, city staff said its preference was Waste Connections. Councilmen met with Waste Connections and discussed their operations at a forum in January.

Trash pickup would remain mostly the same for residents — just different trucks and crews would pick up the waste. Trash will be picked up on its normal day, except when impacted by holidays.

Waste Connections’ holidays are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The city said if a holiday occurs on or before a pickup day, services will be delayed for the remainder of the week. For example, for Thanksgiving, Thursday customers will have trash pickup on Friday and Friday customers will have pickup on Saturday.

The city began looking to stop collecting its own solid waste and recycling in recent months. Nilges pointed to recycling as the main reason for the switch. 

From the city’s point of view, Nilges said recycling is a labor-intensive operation that runs at a deficit. A recent downturn in the value of recyclables has made the venture costly, he said. 

With the deal, the city also will see savings. Nilges has said the goal is to use the savings to pay for the closure of the final cell at the city’s landfill.