After hearing from citizens about looking into improvements in the city of Springfield’s trash and recycling collection services, a consulting firm has been hired to study the issue.
Erick Roberts, superintendent of solid waste for the city, said those they heard from over the last couple of years wondered if there could be improvements and maybe expanded services.
"Better access to curbside recycling, more efficient service, so less collection vehicles in their service areas. Neighborhood cleanups is another popular topic. Yardwaste collection is another service that we've heard over the years as well as bulky item pickup," he said.
Currently, trash collection in Springfield is performed by 12 to 15 private trash hauling companies under an open-market system.
The study has seven goals:
· More efficient trash and recycling collection (organize collection services to improve efficiencies to reduce vehicular traffic)
· Enhanced community programs and services (support neighborhood clean-ups, improved recycling programs, enhanced education and better access to services throughout the community)
· Consistent services and rates (Provide uniform services and rates throughout the community. Expand services such as curbside recycling, bulky item pickup and yard waste collection)
· Community benefits (reduce noise, traffic flow and wear and tear on infrastructure. Create safer and cleaner streets and neighborhoods)
· Environmental benefits (Reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Lower demand for natural resources and landfill space through increased diversion rates)
· Protect existing haulers (recognize the existing service providers operating in the city and seek their input and protect their interests where possible)
· Ensure stability for current SWMS programming (provide consistent funding to continue existing services and programs that benefit the community)
The consulting firm, Burns and McConnell, has just begun talking with waste haulers to get their feedback. A public meeting is set for Thursday, November 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Discovery Center of Springfield, and a phone survey is planned. Roberts said the goal of the meeting is to let the public hear the details of the study and to gain knowledge on a broader sense of what services are important to them.
"What do they want to see in their neighborhoods? What do they want to see as far as collection frequencies and how often, and what types of recycling do they want available at their home versus the recycling drop-offs that we already have in the community," he said.
Roberts said they expect to be finished with the input phase of the study around the first of December, and they hope to have recommendations for City Council by the end of January.
The total cost of the study is $109,450, according to the City of Springfield's public information director, Cora Scott.