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Some more thoughts on garbage

By Staff | Oct 5, 2014

When I first moved to Blue Earth seven years ago, there were a zillon details to be taken care of or so it seemed.

One was a trip to City Hall to inquire about city services, including garbage pickup.

And, like so many others, I learned about garbage from Sue Hauskins, who has probably had to explain it, well, about a zillion times during her years at the front desk at the City Hall.

What Sue told me was a little bit of a surprise.

It seems garbage is not one of the services provided by the city. Citizens have to ‘contract’ with one of the licensed garbage haulers who pay a fee to serve Blue Earth residents.

One of those was Waste Management. A person could either purchase their yellow bags (10 at a time for $30) or call them or another hauler and pay a monthly, or quarterly fee, for weekly pickup.

The bags seemed to be the way to go, and I have been using them ever since. Usually I put one out every week for my household of two people, but if we have a lot of company at our house, it can be two. And, sometimes, it is none, if we were gone or had only generated a little garbage during the week and didn’t have a ‘full’ yellow bag.

At one bag a week I was paying roughly $12 per month. Of course, it is a pay as you use it service. No bag on the curb, no charge. Senior citizens living alone, who generate smaller amounts of garbage than a family of four or five, love this idea.

Where I had lived before the city was the garbage hauler. Twice a week the same city crew that patched pot holes and plowed snow jumped on the city-owned garbage truck and drove around town picking up garbage.

The city billed me monthly. There were three levels of payment.

Tier one was for one 33 gallon container or one large black garbage bag per week. Tier two was two containers or bags and tier three was for three.

I was on tier one. However, I could put out more than one container if I had gone to City Hall and purchased special tags to put on them.

In Blue Earth, some folks have contracted with a garbage hauler to put up to three black bags out on the curb weekly.

Now, a new garbage hauling company is on the scene and they are aggressively seeking customers.

With new companies surfacing, many citizens are confused whether they need to switch to them or not, and whether the yellow bags are no longer going to be able to be used.

The answer I got from Sue Hauskins seven years ago remains the same today.

Residents can use the yellow bags, or they can contract a different deal with any one of the seven garbage haulers who are licensed to serve the city of Blue Earth.

Hometown Sanitation is furnishing large, brown, rolling garbage carts to their customers. You fill it, and roll it out to the curb once a week. Some may prefer that to dragging yellow bags to the street.

Waste Management is soon going to give every resident in the city a rolling cart, as well. However, their large, green with yellow lid carts are for recycling, not for garbage. The smaller yellow plastic cans will no longer be used for recycling.

So now everyone will have at least one rolling cart for recycling. Or two, if you hire Hometown Sanitation for your garbage pickup.

And, there is another twist to this saga.

Before, both garbage and recyclables were picked up on Fridays. Hometown Sanitation, however, is picking up on Thursdays, and Waste Management is going to do recyclables pickup on every other Monday and Tuesday. But, they will still pick up garbage on Fridays.

That will take a whole lot of getting used to. And, it will mean you will see rolling carts, garbage bags and garbage/recycling trucks running around town all week long.

Seems pretty complicated. No wonder so many of us are confused.

And, poor Sue Hauskins. She is considering recording her answers to citizen’s questions about garbage and recycling because she has to repeat the same answers so many times every day.

About a zillion times a day.