Trash contract amendment betrays history, residents

“Despite complaints that they were stifling free enterprise, council members said the company deserved the extension because it offers twice-a-week pickup at among the lowest rates in the West.” — -Review-Journal news story, July 13, 1999

But not anymore.

Thanks to agreeable elected officials in the cities of North Las Vegas, Henderson and, as of today, Clark County, Republic Services will no longer offer the twice-weekly trash pickup that the company’s predecessor used to justify decades-long extensions of its franchise agreements. According to Review-Journal reporter Lawrence Mower‘s story, Clark County commissioners today agreed on a 4-2 vote to allow the company to pick up trash only once per week. (Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Lawrence Weekly voted against the change.)

Twice-weekly pickup was also a feature of Republic’s contract extension with Clark County, although that deal hinged more on the cleanup of the Sunrise landfill, a project that was recently finished. The deal was controversial at the time, with repeated allegations of conflicts of interest.

Republic proposed ending twice-weekly trash pickup back in 2007, but met with resistance from local governments. That led to “pilot programs,” some of which simply never ended. (Who predicted that? This guy!) Local elected officials — many of whom are recipients of Republic Services campaign donations — agreed to amend those extra-long franchise agreements in order to promote recycling. Under the revised plan, trash and recycling will be picked up once per week, with residents allowed to toss all recyclable materials into a single large container rather than the three bins used by many in the valley now. (Extra: I wrote about this issue extensively back in 2010.)

To Republic and its advocates, I pose a simple question, one to which I’ve never received a satisfactory answer in all my many years of asking: Why couldn’t we have had  twice-weekly trash pickup and every-other-week recycling pickup (with the new large container)? Why do we have to change to a system where trash is picked up only once per week in order to expand recycling?

It’s an important question, too. Republic is a monopoly, and like all monopolies, it’s only been able to achieve total market dominance because of government fiat. I’m not allowed to contract with another trash company if I dislike Republic’s prices or policies. But I will have to live with them, since the elected officials in my city (Henderson) have voted to allow Republic to get out of its commitment.

My question also points up the lie that is the popular but mistaken idea that Clark County residents faced an either/or proposition, either give up twice-weekly trash pickup or expand recycling. We manifestly could have done both, using the current schedule.

What are residents (who are de facto Republic customers) to do now? Live with once-weekly trash pickup, for one. But they also could and should remember just who voted to amend these franchise agreements at election time. I know I will.








7 Responses to “Trash contract amendment betrays history, residents”

  1. Lynne Adamson says:

    We’ve been on the program for over a year and love it. The bins are large enough to accommodate a week and if you need a second bin, they will provide it. Comes in handy for yard waste that is not composted. I don’t know what the hoopla is all about. I think it’s awesome.

  2. Steve says:

    Currently those rolling containers cost three dollars a month. Supposedly they will be no cost under this system. If I read those stories correctly Republic will furnish two of them at no added cost. This would be a reduction in costs if one currently rents those containers.
    I heard TV news say this would not take effect right away as Republic has to perform some studies first.
    One report said Republic has until 2017 to implement the new schedules.

    It could be worse, some towns in Massachusetts fine you if you don’t recycle, Haverhill is hiring to roving trash inspectors with authority to ticket the public for not recycling at the curb and Texas state law provides for fines if you don’t recycle.

    How soon will we have trash police roving our neighborhoods rooting through the cans on recycle day and if we don’t meet a minimum requirement they fine us for recycling too LITTLE?? !!

    Now where do I put them trash containers and does anyone want a slightly used large Toter rolling trash container?

    Have you ever tried to throw out a garbage can?

  3. Sharolyn says:

    I live in NLV & have had the once weekly / larger bins for approx. 2 years & love it. No longer does our community look like a trash dump on pickup days; it is easy to put items in the “right” open container; I don’t have to remember which day is recycling day; they provided an extra container so I can do yard work & cleanup work without having to tote regular barrels around. As a petite senior woman, this is great. I don’t know why Clark Co. & LV residents are so upset. I wouldn’t change back for anything–in fact, I would protest if NLV tried to change back!!

  4. Ulf Buchholz says:

    Why are you so obsessed with the twice-a-week pickup, Steve? The (for CC and LV) new system has proven much more convenient and efficient in NLV and HD, not to mention every other city in the country where it’s been implemented. Do you enjoy putting out your trash cans twice each week, only to have to retrieve them at the bottom of the hill or the end of your wind-channel at the end of the day. Also, you don’t actually give any reason why changing is any sort of bad idea. Is that because it isn’t?

  5. Ulf, the Romans had a saying that applies to your post: res ipsa loquitur.

  6. Mr Ed says:

    White people would have to put on blackface to ride on a garbage truck in Las Vegas for much of its modern history. The attack on Garbage men and garbage companies is racist. Guess they want garbage men to do tap dances on overturned dumpsters. A garbage man does more work in one hour than a broken down walking talking pre-existing condition editorial writer does in one year with with a fake right knee and re-done personal plumbing above and below the belt. Any attempt to undermine working conditions should lead to a general strike and the shutting down of the County.

  7. Able says:

    Jane Morrison reported “Clark County Commissioners Larry Brown and Chris Giunchigliani are on the RTC board and have voted against First Transit, the lower bidder by $50 million.” Controlling costs just doesn’t seem to be in their thinking.