A few months after the St. Paul City Council gave Eureka Recycling staff a dressing-down over problems with the city’s new recycling program, an update from the company Wednesday elicited a slightly warmer response.
The tonnage of recycling collected in St. Paul is up by more than 15 percent with the new program, which started in January. Several council members said they were excited to hear that statistic, but they noted that issues with missed recycling bins persist in some corners of the city.
City staff are dealing with resident complaints about uncollected recycling, particularly when people can’t get through to Eureka, Council Member Chris Tolbert said.
“Our city staff have plenty of work to do. They shouldn’t be doing the customer service that we contracted for,” said Tolbert, who warned in February that St. Paul would look into legal options if problems continued after 90 days.
This week’s presentation marked the 90-day check-in point, and the city plans to continue working with Eureka despite a troubled start that left many neighbors with overflowing bins and simmering frustrations. “We look forward to working with the city over the next few years,” Lynn Hoffman, Eureka’s co-president, told the City Council.
There has been miscommunication about where the carts should go, said Kate Davenport, the other co-president. The city gave Eureka certain pickup locations, and then some residents requested changes — and those change requests have resulted in some of the chronically missed pickups, Davenport said.
On average, truck drivers are returning to six different properties around the city every day to pick up missed bins or offer education about how to put out recycling, she said. The city is reviewing circumstances in which recycling was not collected and could make Eureka pay for damages, said Kris Hageman, St. Paul’s recycling manager.