The city of St. Paul has distributed about 60,000 new garbage bins as it moves closer to its Oct. 1 rollout of organized trash collection.
The remaining 14,000 bins will be dropped off by the last week of September, said Lisa Hiebert, a city public works department spokeswoman. Coming soon, if not already delivered, are quarterly bills from residents’ new haulers.
“This is a huge transition for the city and a lot of the residents, and we really appreciate people working with the city and haulers to make this happen,” Hiebert said. “But we are on track to transition to the new garbage service Oct. 1.”
Generations of St. Paul residents have chosen their own haulers, often paying a wide range of prices depending on their level of service. This open system also led to heavy garbage truck traffic crisscrossing St. Paul each weekday morning, as residents on the same block often had different garbage days.
The new system is governed by a city contract with a consortium of the city’s 15 trash haulers. City officials say they expect the new plan to cut down on pollution from garbage truck exhaust and reduce wear and tear on alleys and roads.
The plan divides the city into zones, with a single hauler collecting all trash in that area on the same day. In many cases, residents have been assigned the same hauler they now have. Property owners have four choices: a 35-gallon bin collected every other week or a 35-gallon, 64-gallon or 96-gallon bin collected weekly. Monthly costs range from $20.28 to $34.15.
Homeowners should not use the new bins until Oct. 1. Their current haulers will collect up to their normal day of the last week of September. After that, residents should make sure their old bin is empty so the city can take it away, Hiebert said.
The new quarterly bills have led to some confusion, Hiebert said. They cover service from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. But some homeowners have paid their current haulers for service past the start of the new plan. Others received bills from their current haulers for service in September and October, even though the new plan starts Oct. 1.
Officials are advising those homeowners to contact their current hauler. Haulers are required to refund any overpayment.
Opponents of the plan are continuing a petition drive, saying the plan is a massive mistake costing property owners more money for fewer options. The people behind stpaultrash.com have said their goal is to collect 6,000 signatures by mid-September; they needed at least 5,000 to get the issue on the November ballot, probably in 2019, they said. Organizers did not return calls seeking an update Friday.