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Similar Rates, Fewer Services For Trash Collection In Springfield

SPRINGFIELD,Mo.-- The first portion of a study designed to evaluate the efficiency of the current trash and recycling collection program concluded that Springfield residents pay similar rates for trash collection compared to Missouri cities that provide more collection services than just trash.

That's one of the reasons why Springfield is considering options for consolidating trash services in the city. 

Four key findings from the consolidation study were that cost, good service, recycling and local business matter to Springfield residents. With that in mind, the city is trying to figure out what the best option would be to meet all those needs.

Right now, homeowners can now choose from up to 12 different haulers.

"Eight, ten, 12 trucks, running up and down every street, every day," said Vivian Barnett, a Springfield resident. 

She is one of many who believes something needs to be done.

"If we could just get one company to do a subdivision, that would eliminate some of that traffic," she said. 

While some don't mind the cost of their service. 

"I don't think it's bad at all," said Francine Furstenau.

Springfield households pay $10 to $16 dollars a month, only for trash. In other cities, it costs $10- $18 a month, but that can include trash, recycling, and yard waste.

With an optimized system in Springfield, the study says, it'd cost about $10 for trash, and less than $13 including recycling.

"Maybe it would encourage more people to recycle," said Cary Davison, a Springfield resident.

The study says only 50 percent of Springfield residents recycle. Of those, only about 20 percent use a curbside collection. A large majority drop it off at the recycling center themselves.

"I live less than a mile from the recycling center. So, I just take it there. Lawn clippings also," said John Barker, a Springfield resident.

"As far as I know, there are very limited recycling possibilities," said Furstenau.

To improve recycling, cost, and efficiency, the study offers three options:

The first - existing haulers serve the same number of homes in designated areas.

Option two - divide the city into 3 or 4 zones, and contract one company for each one.

Option three - keeps things as they are.

A draw-back of consolidating, for some residents, is risking the quality of service.

"We feel like that eliminates competition and then you are not gonna get as good of a service," said Davison. 

Others would like to see a change, without hurting local businesses.

"However they want to separate it out, that's fine with me, but make it equal to as many companies as possible," said Barnett. "Keep as much of our business in Springfield as we can."

City Council received the results of the study, including comments from residents, and they will regroup with the study team in about 30 days to decide how the City will move forward. 


You can see the entire study here. 
 

Below is a summary of the report findings:

  • More than ten (10) licensed haulers are providing residential refuse collection services within the City of Springfield. However, two companies – WCA and Republic Waste Services are estimated to provide residential collection services to more than 50% of the estimated 55,000 residential customers.
  • The reported pricing for providing residential refuse collection services varies considerably from a low of approximately $10 per household per month to more than $16 per household per month.The pricing for curbside recyclable materials collection was not readily available.
  • Over 50% of residents recycle through either curbside collection or use of the City drop-offs. Approximately 70% of those residents who recycle reported they use the City’s recyclable materials drop-offs. Approximately 20% of those recycling reported they contract for curbside collection.
  • A number of other Missouri communities that have City-wide collection programs provide multiple services (refuse, recycling, bulk, and/or yard waste collection) with bundled pricing that ranges from to $10 to $18 per household per month. Springfield residents appear to be paying more per household for refuse collection than other benchmarked communities.
  • The Project Team completed a costs analysis to project the household costs for residential refuse collection with a fully optimized collection system. The results of the costs analysis reflect projected costs between $9 and $10 per household per month for refuse collection and less than $13 per household per month for refuse collection and City-wide curbside recyclable materials collection.
  • Residents consider the cost of service as the most important issue and offering additional services as the second most important issue related to refuse collection. Whereas, residents consider convenience as the most important issue and cost of service the second most important issue related to recycling.
  • Many licensed haulers consider the existing open competitive collection program as providing quality service with competitive pricing.
  • Residents are likely to support a City-wide program if the costs of service are reduced. Residents also are more likely than not to support transition to a City-wide program if the program offers access to more services, such as bulk and/or yard waste collection. 

 


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