Genoa Township is working through changes and issues resulting from its latest switch to a new provider for refuse and recycling services.

The township has been forced to change haulers several times in recent years for different reasons and is now three months into a new contract with Advanced Disposal. It was a big change-over so some transitional issues have resulted. Delivering 14,000 curb carts was said to be no small task and now, complaints related to missed pick-ups and other things have been very few. Some issues also resulted with the timing of scheduled pick-ups and recycling during recent holiday periods. The largest outstanding complaint is now related to every other week recycling, which the township board discussed during its meeting Monday night. It was ultimately agreed that staff proceed with getting solid numbers to determine how much it would cost for weekly recycling, which would result in some operational issues for the company.

Supervisor Bill Rogers told WHMI there are always issues when you have a transition and there will be growing pains associated with switching to a new company. He says it takes time to figure out routes, spots that are tough for big trucks and different drop points, adding Manager Mike Archinal and staff have spent a lot of time working through these things and have been extremely diligent in trying to finds spots to adjust with Advanced Disposal. Rogers says the biggest change is probably going to every other week recycling. Although the township is still fielding questions and complaints, he feels most items will work themselves out. Treasurer Robin Hunt agreed there are improvements to be made but felt the company should be given time to correct the issues, noting the company has been working very well with the township and a representative is coming in weekly.

There are 7,000 households in the township and it was noted a large amount do actually recycle, which officials feel is encouraging that people are taking advantage of it. Some households recycle a lot more than others and larger families naturally generate more trash, thus there are options to purchase additional carts for a fee. Rogers noted the contract went from an 18-gallon recycling container to 64-galloons, which the board and staff thought would accommodate going to the every other week. Despite many questions and complaints, only two residents attended the meeting. The first, who has a large family and puts forth a lot of effort into recycling, voiced concerns with missed pick-ups and lengthy times associated with the call center. The other resident told the board he was very happy with the new company and feels things are working well. He asked that the board not fuel the idea of mass consumerism and increased waste, saying you can sugarcoat recycling all you want but he feels most things end up in landfills anyway.

Should the switch be made to weekly recycling, there would be some operational issues for the company and increased cost to the township. Recycled materials currently go to a facility in Chelsea that would not be able to handle the increased volume so trucks would need to be re-routed to Detroit. That would impact route timing and the company might need to add another truck, which would mean rates would need to be adjusted.

It was also noted during the meeting that the township has notified residents about the changes, as well as what can and cannot be recycled, in every conceivable way possible so the amount of calls, complaints, emails and comments can be frustrating for staff. Items to be recycled cannot be put out in plastic bags, as plastic bags cannot be recycled period. All items, including cardboard, must also be put in the carts provided or they will not be picked up. (JM)