New, lidded bins & bi-weekly recycling collection coming to North Smithfield July 1

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Heather Louro, public sector solutions representative for Waste Management, speaks before the council.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town has signed a five year contract with a trash and recycling collection service that will come with new, lidded bins for residents and a bi-weekly pickup schedule for all recycling.

Waste Management will perform trash and recycling pickup, updating the town to an automated collection system at a cost of $4,831,848, or $966,369 a year, beginning July 1 of this year.

Public Works Director Raymond Pendergast said the change will result in a needed reduction in cost to the town for disposal of trash tonnage, and a higher recycling rate.

“A lot people are not recycling,” Pendergast said. “They’re just throwing everything into their trash.”

Heather Louro, public sector solutions representative for Waste Management, said her company will send out postcards to every home in town notifying residents of the upcoming change, as well as recycling collection calendars. Homes will be issued wheeled, 64-gallon trash bins and 96-gallon recycling bins, and unlike with the town’s current system, anything placed outside of the carts will not get picked up.

Louro noted that a 64 gallon cart holds between 5 and 6 large kitchen bags of trash.

“It’s enough,” she said. Of the recycling bins she added, “They’re covered, which is going to prevent moisture from getting in, which is a big cause of contamination. Aesthetically, looking up the streets, it’s going to look a lot nicer. Nothing is going to be blowing around.”

Pendergast said it costs the town around $800 every time there’s a rejected load when recycling is dumped at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Center, which happens when items become wet, or things that can’t be recycled are flagged.

“We need to educate people on how to dispose of trash the proper way and how to recycle in the proper way,” he said. “I think it’s gotten way out of hand, and I need to reel it back in.”

Town Council President Kimberly Alves asked if the change to bi-weekly recycling collection would be, “going backwards,” in terms of the message the town is trying to send to residents.

“Now we’re going to not do recycling for one whole week,” Alves said.

The competing collection bidder, Jim Simoneau of Waste Connections, offered the town a quote of $772,783 more than his competitor for a five year contract that would have come with weekly recycling pickup.

“You want to increase your recycling numbers as much as you can,” said Simoneau. “That’s why there’s a difference between Waste Management – every other week – and ourselves – a weekly service. Keep the conditions to as close to what they are now, with the weekly service, is what I recommend going forward. If your bin fills up, you tend to put the recycling in with the trash.”

But Louro said that curbside recycling volumes are ultimately controlled by residents, and that her company’s data has shown no decrease in a community’s recycling rate with bi-weekly pickup.

“There’s a slight increase, as a matter of fact,” Louro said. “Increasing volume is more about public outreach and behavior change rather than increase in collection.”

To that end, Louro noted that Waste Management will send out postcards telling residents when their new carts will arrive.

“It’s going to take about six days to deploy throughout the whole town,” Louro said. “We’re going to start the last week in June to be fresh to start July 1 with automated collection.”

She said she’d also be willing to attend additional meetings and events in North Smithfield to help educate residents about the changes.

Councilor John Beauregard said he always liked the idea that in North Smithfield, you could throw pretty much anything out by the road and have it collected.

“That’s not going to be the case anymore,” Beauregard said. “I’ve always considered us very fortunate that we’re able to just put stuff to the curb.”

“I need to decrease the trash,” Pendergast responded. “People are throwing just way too much out.”

Beauregard later explained, “We should be trying to improve constituent services in town, not diminish them. I do admit our current system is a small luxury most other towns don’t enjoy.”

The DPW director noted that in recent years, the town’s recycling rate has gone from around 29 to 30 percent down to around 22 percent. The town, he said, will still offer bulky and white good pickups, as well as drop offs on select days at the highway barn.

The new bins provided by Waste Management, Pendergast noted, come at no additional cost to residents, and will belong to the town after five years.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of education,” said Councilor Paulette Hamilton. “It will take awhile.”

“We have a trash problem in this state anyway with our landfill almost to capacity,” she added.

Pendergast said that he believes the changes are long overdue.

“Is it something new? Absolutely,” he said. “When I had to sit down and look at the options it was all about the dollars and cents.”

The change passed in a split vote with Beauregard and Councilor Claire O’Hara voting against the award of the bid for the town’s trash and recycling to Waste Management.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. I like it the way it is. The company picks up multiple cans of recyclables and any large boxes we minimally break down. Yeah, you have to tie down stuff when it is windy; but, that is outweighed by the amount of trash they pick up.

  2. I know this isn’t going to work for us. I never understood why bins weren’t rejected right at curbside. A lot of people don’t care and they still won’t do it right. I feel the large amount of cardboard generated from Amazon will soon be being burnt in backyard fire pits. So much for fresh air!

  3. My wife and I have a profoundly handicapped daughter. We have at least 10 bags of trash a week mostly from diapers, disposable underpads and associated trash. Our recycling has a large amount of cardboard from all the supplies that are delivered monthly for food, diapers, underpads and other supplies.

    On those weeks, what would the Public Works Director want me to do?

    Also, our subdivision is a private road which requires us to bring our trash to the main road. several of the residents here are in their 80s and they will be expected to drag 64 and 96 gallon cans down the road to the street and then back up to their house. This could be quite problematic for 80 something-year-olds. Will the town allow the trash trucks to come up our road to pick up the trash and recycling? I doubt it.

  4. I welcome this change as it will (hopefully) reduce my job of picking up several of my neighbors recyclables that blow into my yard, retention pond, and woods on an almost weekly basis. The fact that they have refused to purchase larger covered bins, keep overfilling the stupid little blue bins every week, and put them out the night before when it is windy has always pissed me off. In fact, this morning is another fine example of the wind tunnel that is Jennifer Lane.

  5. How does the town think recycling will change by going biweekly? We have always recycled and have no issue with our smaller bought lidded containers I myself do not want 64 g!!!!!

  6. Lets review the NS performance and service level in the area of public works. The roads are a mess, buildings are not maintained, debris is not picked up on streets, and the transfer station is rarely open. Now public works is making a decision that effects service on trash pickup. Who was on the committee to review the bids? What was the scoring matrix?

    • Exactly DT!! Are all the bids, assuming there was more than 2, public knowledge? Wonder who the “dictator” of public works is doing a “favor” for at Waste Management. This decision and logic are absolutely absurd. He needs to be fired!! NS is in the worst shape it’s ever been in the last 60+ years.

      • I moved to NS a few years ago thinking this town had it stuff together. I was wrong on so many levels. So much incompetence.

  7. More money for less services, sounds about right for the ilk that have taken over the town council. Get what you vote for.

  8. As someone who used to live in an area with every other week recycling, and a former sanitation engineer, it worked great. Hopefully no more multiple missed weeks of trash/recycling. No more damaging personal trash bins or missing bags of trash.

    I do fear that an every other week for families with young children will struggle, as I’m one of those families. All the diaper boxes, dirty diaper bags, then birthdays, hopefully they have random two weeks in a row every now and then. Christmas time will be a struggle as well.

  9. I have lived in NS for over 30 years and I am thrilled that we are switching over to Waste Management. For far too long Mega has made a complete mess in our town, with trash not being disposed of properly and flying all over the road.

    Having had the opportunity to view trash pickup in Bristol and on the Cape, Waste Management bins are easy and efficient, with every bit of trash and recycling going into the truck, rather than on the streets.

  10. As a family of 4, we have a full 96 gal bin of both trash and recycling! If they are going to bi-weekly recycling, unless we can get 2 recycling bins, I have no idea what to do with all of those recyclables that can’t fit in the bin each week. If the goal is to increase recycling rates, this will be a hindrance for those of us who already recycle.

  11. This is going to be a disaster. As a family of 5, we deply a full large can of recyclables along with several large boxes of broken down cardboard plus 2-3 large bins of trash, WEEKLY. Now it will be every other week and substantially reduced? How will that work? I guess there will be piles of trash building up everywhere. Welcome to West Virginia…

  12. About time they switch to covered toters. Gone will be the days of loose trash & recyclables floating around the roadside on windy collection days. All the other neighboring towns/cities have covered toters and automated collection. So much more efficient, cleaner, easier and sanitary; not to mention will reduce workmans comp cases for the collection workers too. Should’ve made this move 10-12 years ago when every other community around pretty much did.

    • Just drive through Woonsocket on trash days with their overstuffed bins and trash flying all over the place. Smithfield is no different, while very town fights roadside litter this will only make matters worse.

  13. I use 4 bins of recycling a week, and 1-2 trash cans a week. I guess I’ll have to start throwing my recycling in the trash.

    • Actually you will have a regular trash problem also. I have a 96g regular trash weekly and biweekly 96g recycling, both get maxed for a family of 4. The 64g weekly regular trash is way to small unless you are a household of 2. Are they providing an option to buy/pay a 2nd regular trash can? There is going to be major trash problems in NS this summer.

  14. I seldom agree with Mr. Beauregard, but with this action I believe he is correct. North Smithfield residents pay a premium in taxes and for that they should get top level trash and recycling pick-up. We are now limiting how much they are allowed to put out. This will only add to roadside trash and more trips to local dumpsters and the town garage.

  15. Used to live in North Smithfield, always tried to recycle as much as possible, had 2 bins for plastic/cans and would cut & bundle my cardboard. Now live elsewhere with a same large single bin for mixed recycle that is picked up biweekly. I throw at least half my carboard in the regular trash cause biweekly my recycle is full and I even have to crush cans/bottles.

    NS is delusional that it will increase recycling, guaranteed to reduce it. Amazing the US is so bad at recycling and make policies that actually reduce it.

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