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Trash Talk: Republic Services Proposes Decrease In Garbage Collection
Trash Talk: Republic Services Proposes Decrease In Garbage Collection

AIR DATE: February 4, 2013

Republic Services wants to reduce your trash pickup. The company has proposed decreasing trash pickup to once a week, and improving recycling service in exchange. The idea rubs some people the wrong way, but the company says the move will increase recycling rates.
Experts weighed in on how trash service can change our habits and affect wastefulness. Our discussion yielded some provocative trash facts:
  • According to Jeremy O’Brien of Solid Waste Association of North America, Las Vegas' practice of collecting trash twice a week is unusual – most communities have once weekly pickup.
  • “Garbology" author Edward Humes says Americans generate over 7 pounds of trash a day, compared to 2.2 pounds per resident in Japan.
  • Humes says we make twice as much trash today as we did in 1960, and the biggest component in the trash mix is packaging.
  • Walmart has calculated that if they reduce their packaging by 5 percent, they can save over $3 billion a year.
  • Tara Pike of Rebel Recycling says Nevada had a goal of 25 percent recycling by 1995, which it still hasn’t met in 2013.

Can Las Vegas do better with recycling? Listen to the interview and share your thoughts.

Bob Coyle, Vice President, Republic Services
Tara Pike, Director, Rebel Recycling
Jeremy O'Brien, Director of Applied Research, Solid Waste Association of North America
Edward Humes, Author, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash


comments powered by Disqus
We eagerly await the recycle bins for use instead of the plastic containers we have today. Pickup once a week is quite viable for us with the ability to have recycle bins to use for the once every two weeks recycle pickup.
Bernard DistelFeb 12, 2013 09:57:17 AM
To those of you ranting about the cost of Republic Services, consider the fact that in Eugene, OR, they have once a week pickup with stream lined recycling and they pay $40 A MONTH!! We pay $42 per quarter. I don't recall when RSG last raised prices but I know for certain that the cost of gasoline, equipment and health insurance has certainly risen considerably over the last several years. As far as concerns related to once a week pickup, you can alleviate that by keeping potentially odiferous items in your freezer until trash day, and hose out the cans occasionally. Minimal effort, maximum impact. Unfortunately, most of out citizenry is too lazy to get off their fat arses and do something that would benefit themselves and society without being compensated.
Darryl LeahmannFeb 6, 2013 14:37:33 PM
There is a meeting on tuesday on 500 S Grand Central pkwy, if you want to be heard just show up,and make your opinion count
AngelFeb 1, 2013 16:25:10 PM
What is wrong with Las Vegans? Has the desert air dehydrated all sense of community, all common sense. Once a week pick up is more than enough. Recycling is an ecological imperative; although recycling would seem to be against some religious edict (or against some imagined constitutional right to do as I am please as practiced by some. Until the little patriotic red, white and blue plastic boxes disappeared my neighbor proudly proclaimed - "I don't recycle". Now that we have the convenient spacious, covered bins that roll easily on casters she does recycle. The streets neat and tidy - not strewn with the overflow from the little boxes. I'm from L. A. - pick up is once a week - Republic will provide extra containers if requested. It's the same mind-set - no more taxes - to pay for an educated citizenry. Need money to buy another pick-up and 100 inch screen. K I S S once a week is great. Just what is the issue - WHO is complaining?
Charlotte SudakovJan 30, 2013 23:18:53 PM
I'm all for keeping collections as is: trash twice per week, and recyles once per two weeks. In the summer heat, a once weekly trash collection would make for very smelly garages and, if one smashes the recyclables, there's plenty of room for 2 weeks of recyclables in the bins for normal people. More importantly, looking around on recycle days, it appears to me that the vast majority of households don't even recycle at all, ZERO, so allowing Republic Services to charge for frequent recyclable pickup would be lots of free money for doing very little. Indeed, recycling is a huge money *loser* almost everywhere in the nation, costing ratepayers far more than is earned by selling the materials.
Tom HurstJan 30, 2013 14:08:35 PM
I would have to quess that yiou are in favor of continuing to pollute our desert also. EVERY MAJOR CITY IN THE SOUTHWEST DOES once a week THIS. IF YOUR TRASH STINKS, STOP WASTING FOOD ALSO !!
J DowneyJan 30, 2013 15:37:01 PM
Well said Tom, whats to say that when the once a week program is implemented Republic wont raise prices? Or refuse to take large items, or worst charge more for anything outside containers, as far as I know Republic is only offering extra containers during the pilot program,once it is voted on they only supply one container for trash and one for recycle
Angel SandovalFeb 1, 2013 16:10:13 PM
I'm still fairly new to Las Vegas. I moved here last July in the intense 120 degree weather that I was unaccustomed to coming from western Ohio. I found this article interesting in that my grandparents neighborhood has been the only place I've been to that had recycling services and I remember most people took the time to separate their trash. In your argument, your main point seems to only be that keeping a little extra trash would smell bad in the summer heat. I'm sorry to say that Las Vegas in general smells horrible if you haven't noticed and not just in the summer. It may be because you've lived here longer and are accustomed to it. Much of your garbage is probably recyclable material anyway unless you throw away a ton of food and then you could probably compost that. lastly, I would like to say that people wont recycle if the option isn't available. I understand that this is Sin city, but come on you really have to give this idea a chance to spread. Something like this could change the culture of people living in las vegas. You can't discount a good/great idea just because your trash might stink.
StevenFeb 9, 2013 18:11:36 PM
I only have two words to describe the trash problem in this town: JUNK MAIL
Norma PriceJan 30, 2013 11:04:55 AM
What is wrong with you people? Why do you always take the side of the big guy--especially the government and government contractors, in this case? The employee called with information (that employees are being put in a position where they choose to quit) that directly conflicted with the information (propaganda?) of Republic (that it signed an agreement not to fire anyone), yet you dismissed him EVEN THOUGH THE STORIES ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE and let Republic spout its side of story. Typical for KNPR (propaganda arm of the government?). The issue of recycling was settled during a rate "dispute" (which ended in a rate increase, of course), but Republic (Silver State at the time) never implemented its part of the agreement. Republic knew and knows this is still a requirement of its contract when it purchased Silver State, but instead of spending its money doing its job (collecting trash) it prefers to hire high-priced and well-placed attorneys, with the public ending up spending its money for nothing. And KNPR greases the tracks... And the crony-based system of government in Clark County goes on...and on...
Ed UehlingJan 30, 2013 10:57:15 AM
Recycling our natural resources.. GOOD polutting a hole in the desert... BAD get it ! . you must be one of the "WASTERS " .
J DowneyJan 30, 2013 15:39:10 PM
Hey thanks for sticking up for the little man, we are victims of a monopoly here so is basically going to come down to government council and their vote, they are going to decide on what is best for you and I,when all is said and done, they are going to side with the Corporate giants that contribute huge sums to their campaigns, I think they call it the New Democracy
Angel SandovalFeb 1, 2013 16:15:14 PM
We can't wait to be included in the pilot program. We only take our trash out once a week as it is, and by the time recycling day rolls around, we have more stuff than will fit in our bins. On windy days, it ends up all over the road in front of our house. Will we be able to recycle more items, like plastics other than just type 1 and 2?
JessicaJan 30, 2013 10:42:40 AM
They take almost everything in plastics, except cellophane. :-)
LauraJan 30, 2013 10:50:48 AM
We have the same problem. Our sorted recycles are only picked up twice per month. By the time the truck gets to our place,the wind has scattered everything around. Then there is a big rush to put everything back in the three little boxes. If we had one container with a cover as is provided for every day trash, our lives would be easier indeed. Plus we could us much less junk mail from the post office and packaging from the grocery stores. I am happy to hear that some businesses such as Wal Mart is leading the way.
Norma PriceJan 30, 2013 11:13:56 AM
What about recycling for apartment complexes? I'd love to see that here.
SanJan 30, 2013 10:33:03 AM
They do have a few containers in some complexes for recycling, just check with your Rental agent
AngelFeb 1, 2013 16:18:29 PM
We recycle and we're over flowing with recycling by the end of one week. Due to our recycling we rarely need more than once a week trash pick up. Today is pick up on our street and our can is empty. C
Carl adamiJan 30, 2013 10:28:14 AM
Why dont u put out additional cans of recycle, Recycle will service those cans as long as they are labeled recyclables
ANGELFeb 1, 2013 16:17:07 PM
I live in Henderson and participate in the pilot recycling/once-a-week pickup. We are thrilled with it. We have found it convenient and clean. We significantly increased our volume of recycling and reduced our trash because the single-stream is so easy. We thought the once a week would be a problem with the heat but it was not. We can freeze or keep in the fridge the rare meat/seafood trash that would get smelly. The big cans can get heavy but some older neighbors just requested smaller cans and can move them easily. Republic Services and the City have been easy to work with and very communicative.
Laura YavitzJan 30, 2013 10:27:00 AM
I agree. I think the contract should go up for public bid.
GaryJan 30, 2013 10:10:10 AM
Ditto to that, let customers decide, what is the saying? If its not broke dont fix it
Angel SandovalFeb 1, 2013 16:05:29 PM
We started in the pilot plan for single stream recycling and we never want to go back to the way it was! It's great. And, it promotes recycling.
BarbaraJan 30, 2013 10:09:50 AM
This company (Silver State) started with 2 trucks and has been handed billions by its ratepayers. But it is NEVER enough. Its founders were sent to jail for stealing from the public at the time they sold the company to Republic Services for more than $1B. Republic has done nothing but complain about the contract since buying the business. It doesn't want to haul trash; it only wants to haul money, so why doesn't it go into the casino business rather than dedicating itself to buying influence with politicians and violating its contract and agreements? Clark County (and other governments) should either hold it to its contract (which already includes recycling) or cut its charges in half if it cuts service in half or put the whole contract up for public bid.
Edmund UehlingJan 30, 2013 09:34:24 AM
We've had twice a week trash pick up for decades because of the summer temperatures. Degrading food and other organic materials bake in the summer temperatures. This is not just an odor issue but a health concern as well. Trash pick up should stay at twice a week to maintain the well-being of our neighborhoods.
Starr ButterfieldJan 30, 2013 09:14:59 AM
Maybe you could install a garbage disposal?
BarbaraJan 30, 2013 10:29:49 AM
Stop wasting foor and you wont have that problem ! No problem with once a week in EVERY OTHER SOUTHWESTERN CITY !
J DowneyJan 30, 2013 15:41:21 PM
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