On Tuesday the council met with our representative from the Hennepin Recycling Group to discuss the recent Curbside Cleanup event.
There was some chatter about the event over on Nextdoor and I promised a few answers to questions that residents posted.
Here are a few items we learned:
- Who Pays for Curbside Cleanup?
The funds to pay for Curbside Cleanup come out of the recycling fee that you pay with your utility (water) bill. It works out to about 90 cents a month.
- Do Other Cities Offer this Service?
Yes, but not many.
The only cities we are aware of that offer this type of service are Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Crystal and New Hope.
Bloomington does it annually, Brooklyn Park does 1/3 of the city each year, and Crystal/New Hope typically do it every other year.
- I like a fall pickup date, rather than spring. Can we move it back to fall?
The contract specified that we would prefer a fall pickup, but no vendors could do it then.
Years ago there were many more haulers that could offer the service. But haulers are replacing their old rear loaded trucks with automatic side-loaded trucks. This saves on fuel and labor costs. As more trucks are replaced, we could end up having no vendors who can provide the service.
The vendors who had done the pickup in Crystal and New Hope in the past contacted us this year and said they could no longer do it. There were only two bids, and the one we didn’t choose wanted to start in March instead of April.
The vendors can only offer the service at all by hiring their yard waste seasonal workers a few weeks early. It’s not possible for them to keep them in the fall.
- Can’t we just find new vendors or offer them more money? Isn’t it that simple?
The number of vendors is dwindling due to industry consolidation.
And the contract isn’t a fixed bid. The vendors set the price.
Even under those terms there were only two bidders.
- Can we do a Curbside Cleanup annually instead of every other year?
Unfortunately we may come to a point (soon) where we can’t offer the service at all because there aren’t any vendors who can do it. But plans are to keep offering the service for as long as we can, and the HRG board will talk about the feasibility of an annual event. It would obviously cost more, so we need to consider a variety of things before making a decision.
- OK, who is HRG?
HRG stands for Hennepin Recycling Group.
HRG is a joint powers agreement between the cities of Brooklyn Center, Crystal and New Hope. HRG manages the recycling programs for these cities.
Each city has one board member on the HRG board. There is a part time paid staffer who runs HRG and reports to the board. That employee is currently a staff member for the city of Brooklyn Park. HRG pays for 15% of his time through a contract with Brooklyn Park.
- Why isn’t Brooklyn Park part of HRG then?
We really don’t know. They just never have been.
- Speaking of recycling, can we change that to a weekly pickup?
We’re looking into it. The same vendor services Brooklyn Park and the HRG cities. We’re looking at a new contract that would use the economies of scale of both Brooklyn Park and HRG and would also allow weekly pickup. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you can get a second recycling cart or a larger cart for free by calling 763-493-8006.
- How much junk did we throw away during curbside cleanup this year?
Here are some stats: 67% of households participated. In 2016, about 900 tons of trash were collected, as well as 1034 appliances. In 2014, there were 670 tons of trash and 224 appliances collected. In 2011, 800 tons of trash and 740 appliances.
Here’s a link to a memo that we received from HRG about Curbside Cleanup. I hit most of the highlights above, but I’m posting it in case you want to take a look.
As always, if you have any questions, let me know.