Today’s Review-Journal reports that people love — just love! — a pilot project by Republic Services that picks up trash just once a week, along with recyclables once weekly. The pilot project was paid for by Republic Services after an ill-fated attempt to force once-weekly trash pickup on the general public.
This, of course, would require an amendment to the Republic Services franchise agreement, which clearly stipulates that trash will be collected twice per week. But using the guise of recycling — think of Mother Earth, won’t you? — the company has been trying for years to get out of its commitment.
The company found a willing ally in Tara Pike, UNLV’s recycling guru, who says that twice weekly trash pickup discourages people from recycling. Look for her to become Republic’s new green celebrity spokesmodel.
I’ve said before that there are two ways to go here: If Republic Services cares so much about saving the planet, it can switch to picking up recyclable materials once each week at its own expense. (Alas, the green the company is really interested in prohibits this option.) Or, we can throw the entire, generational franchise agreement up for re-negotiation, and invite competitors who may be able to give Clark County a better deal to bid.
Not surprisingly, Republic Services doesn’t like either option. The company — having secured a franchise agreement so long, I’ll be about ready to collect Social Security by the time it expires — wants to keep its hold on Clark County business while getting a better deal for itself at the same time. County commissioners should not let Republic get away with that. (If they do, trash should not be the only thing dumped during the next election.)
The last time once-weekly trash pickup was suggested, the public almost reverted to pitchforks and torches. So Republic did what companies always do: Quietly go away and sponsor a “pilot project” to show how great its idea really was. In the meantime, the company is hoping objections will go away and it will be able to come back (again and again) until it gets what it wants.
Mark my words, people: Republic will return to the Clark County Commission and other local governments with a once-weekly trash proposal. And when that time comes, the public needs to rise up in outrage once again, and tell company officials that no means no. In fact, next time, we’d best use an expletive just to be sure we’re heard.