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Greenwood starting with new garbage/recycling provider


All Greenwood city residents got an early Christmas gift of sorts with a set of wheeled 95-gallon garbage and recycling containers they will begin to use in 2020 as the city switches to a new service provider.

The city recently signed a 10-year contract with Express Disposal of Thorp for weekly garbage collection and bi-weekly recycling collection. Residents will see some changes -- most notably a change from Tuesday to Thursday pick-up services -- and will be asked to place their containers at curbside in a particular way so an automated Express Disposal truck can grab them with a driver never having to leave the cab.

Advanced Disposal is to do its final garbage and recycling collection on Dec. 31, after the city declined to renew its contract with that provider. Express Disposal will do its first run in the city on Jan. 3, a Friday due to the holiday, but will then began to run its route every Thursday beginning Jan. 9.

According to Kurt Redfern of Express Disposal, one change residents will see is in recycling collection. While both garbage and recycling have been collected every week with Advanced, recycling service will now be on an every-other week basis. Each residence should have received a calendar in their mail last week denoting the recycling days. The area east of Main Street will have their recycling picked up on Jan. 3, and the area west of Main Street will be done on Jan. 9. The recycling service will then alternate weeks. Garbage collection will take place every Thursday starting at approximately 6 a.m.

Redfern said Express Disposal can ask residents to go two weeks between recycling collection because it is providing the large 95-gallon containers, a black-topped version for garbage and a container with a green lid for recycling.

“The change is going to be the dual-cart system,” Redfern said. “Most people didn’t have a cart (for recycling). They had a recycling bin.”

The size of the wheeled carts will be a significant change for city residents, but Redfern said he expects people will like them once they adapt. Even for small households, he said the 95-gallon containers should be suitable.

“They look big, but they’re easy to use,” Redfern said. “They look big and bulky, but they’re not, they’re light.”

Express delivered two carts to each of about 460 households during the week of Dec. 16. It does have 65-gallon carts available, but is asking residents to try the larger ones first.

“We just ask that everybody try out the big carts, see how it goes,” Redfern said. “Most people need that size and actually fill them up.”

This week will be a good example, he said. Many residents are receiving home-delivered packages for the holiday, and that means a large recycling stack.

“Everything comes in cardboard. They fill up pretty fast,” Redfern said. “It’s kind of nice to have the bigger one for the season we have coming up.”

With recycling, Redfern said residents do not need to separate items and can just place paper, cardboard, metal cans, plastic (Numbers 1-7) and glass bottles loose into the green-lid container. Those containers are taken to an Eagle River recycling center where they are emptied onto a large conveyor line and separated by weight and hand-sorting. The city’s garbage will be taken to the Marathon County landfill near Ringle.

Another change for Greenwood residents will be the placement of the bins at curbside. Redfern said they need to leave at least three feet of space between the containers and any other object such as a tree or mailbox. That is because Express will be using a brand new automated truck that will use a mechanical arm to grab the containers and empty them into a truck.

“You’ll have our new truck going up and down (the streets),” Redfern said. “It’s a nice, safe, efficient way to pick up trash and recycling. It’s a much safer pickup. Obviously, the driver does not get out of the truck.”

Redfern said his company understands that change is not always well-accepted, but he believes the citizens of Greenwood will be satisfied with the new service in short order.

“The residents are kinda’ lucky to have it this way,” he said. “You’re rolling carts out to the street instead of carrying them. Animals can’t get into it.”

The city decided to switch its service to Express Disposal in large part due to price. Express Disposal will charge the city $11.75 per resident per month and is providing the dual carts for free. In Advanced Disposal’s new contract proposal, it set a price of $12.75 per residence per month, plus residents would have had to rent a garbage cart for an additional $1.11 per month.

The new contract for Express Disposal is for 10 years. Redfern said the company asks municipalities for a longer deal so it can recoup the cost of providing the free carts. Express has said it will not raise its monthly price for the first three years of the contract, but will then increase it by 3 percent per year. Advanced Disposal’s offer indicated it would raise its prices 3 percent per year beginning in the first year.

Greenwood city residents pay for their garbage/recycling services on their quarterly utility bills, along with water and sewer services.