December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Republic Services removes trash cans in townships

Some township residents in Lorain County are being left holding the bag when it comes to December trash pickup.

Officials in Brighton, Amherst and Eaton townships have reported hearing from residents about Republic Services taking away waste and recyclable carts, which is forcing residents to use plastic bags for trash through the end of the year.

“We’re getting calls all the time asking what’s going on,” Brighton Township Fiscal Officer Marilyn L. Siekeres said. “It’s pretty stinky on their (Republic) part to start three weeks early.”

Rumpke of Ohio Inc., a Cincinnati-based company that will take over trash collection as of Jan. 1 under a new five-year contract for thousands of households in 11 townships, Rochester, Sheffield and Avon Lake, is starting to deliver its own trash and recycling carts, but those cannot be used until it starts pickups.

It isn’t immediately clear how many households are temporarily without trash containers during the transition.

Eaton Township administrative assistant and Solid Waste Coordinator Richard Knechtges said residents have been calling with questions about what to do, as have those in Amherst Township where Trustee Neil Lynch and others have fielded calls expressing frustration with the transition despite efforts to explain the process in a recently mailed township newsletter.

Both Lynch and Siekeres said Republic didn’t communicate its cart-collection plans to residents.

“Unless you called them, you didn’t know what was going on. Some people thought their carts had been stolen,” Lynch said.

Eric VanHouten, Republic general manager for Lorain County, said postcards were mailed to Republic customers within the consortium area notifying them of the company’s cessation of service as of Dec. 31.

The notices let customers know Republic would retrieve its trash receptacles during the month, after which trash and recyclables would have to be set out in black and blue plastic bags, respectively.

“We physically can’t do it all at the end of the month,” VanHouten said of the cart collection. “This is the largest cart removal we’ve ever experienced.”

Republic expects to collect thousands of waste and recycling containers throughout December.

The changeover has been made more confusing because an unknown number of Republic customers have received bills for three months of service extending to mid-February.

VanHouten said such bills were clearly mistakes and can be cleared up by calling Republic’s customer service line at (800) 433-1309 or with a visit to www.republicservices.com.

“Our customers should only have been billed for November and December,” VanHouten said Friday. “Sometimes it’s not always clear which customers are part of the consortium and which aren’t due to the fact routes go between townships and other areas.”

Rumpke officials could not be reached for comment Friday, but a notice at the company’s website said the firm’s Cincinnati home offices were closed due to severe winter weather in the area.

Rumpke projects beginning service for its new Lorain County customers between Jan. 2 and 7.

The company expects to deliver nearly 18,000 95-gallon brown trash carts and 65-gallon green recycling carts, according to the online notice.

Terms of the new contract call for Rumpke to charge $53.25 per quarter for weekly residential waste and recyclable pickup.

The figure is more than $11 below the bid submitted by Republic, which previously served most of the area now under the consortium.

Lynch urged anyone with questions about Rumpke’s start-up of service to call its Cleveland customer service department at (800) 828-8171. People can also visit www.rumpke.com.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.