An analysis of Springfield’s trash and recycling collection services finds that residents could pay less per month with a fully optimized collection system, and the study’s author has recommended three options for doing so.
More than 10 licensed haulers are providing residential refuse collection services within the city. Springfield has a free market system for curbside trash and recycling pickup.
Burns & McDonnell, which was hired by the city to perform the analysis, says costs per household for residential refuse collection services range from $10 to $16. Pricing for curbside recycling was not available. Springfield residents, it says, appear to be paying more per household for refuse collection than other benchmarked communities. But the firm concluded through a cost analysis that a fully optimized system could bring the cost to as low as $9 per household and less than $13 if combined with city-wide curbside recycling pickup.
In relation to refuse collection, the survey found that residents consider its cost the most important issue. Convenience is the most important issue regarding recycling.
More than 700 eligible residents were surveyed by telephone for the study, with almost 2,000 more online or paper surveys collected. Burns & McDonnell also sought feedback from waste haulers, various city stakeholders and community groups.
Among the details in its 87-page report are three options for consideration by Springfield City Council.
They include offering service contracts to existing haulers to maintain existing market shares, designing multiple districts/zones with hauler franchising, or establishing non-exclusive franchises/licenses and/or contracts for targeted collection services.
The study was the result of questions brought up by the Neighborhood Advisory Council and City Council regarding potential impacts and inefficiencies of the current system. In commissioning the Trash and Recycling Collection Study, the city aimed to identify ways to improve collection efficiency, consistent service and rates, community and environmental benefits, and protections for existing haulers.
The city says council members are being provided with a full study report before it reconvenes to discuss and deliberate options.