Sandy Springs isn’t the only city with garbage collection problems, as the industry struggles with labor shortages and equipment supply chain issues.
The City Council made a presentation on the status of waste haulage, residents’ complaints, and possible options for the city at a working session on September 20th.
“The City of Sandy Springs now outsources all of its garbage and recycling collection services, allowing residents to choose the private or private company that best suits their needs,” says Caroline, Executive Project Manager. says Galvin. “We are also partnering with Keep North Fulton Beautiful to help residents with their recycling needs.”
Thirteen private companies provide solid waste services to the city, she said. She has five companies that provide housing services, two of which serve only specific homeowners associations, and one of which she has stopped accepting new customers. She has five companies that offer more professional services, such as trash can rental.
City residents have expressed concerns about service delays, service cancellations and poor customer service, Galvin said. This problem existed before the pandemic, but increased as a result of the staffing shortages it caused.
She said the switch to automated side-loader trucks has been linked to increased fees and the need to use certain types of trash cans.
As the only North Fulton city to have its own waste hauling service, Roswell has a budget of $13 million, but the fees charged don’t necessarily cover all costs. Alpharetta contracts with Republic Service to accept quarterly advance payments from residents. Commercial real estate can work with the firm of their choice, Galvin said.
Milton and Johns Creek have separate private companies licensed to work in their respective cities. Mountain Park has contracted with Waste Pro.
“Most cities will host public collection events similar to Keep North Fulton Beautiful, including document shredding events, mattress recycling, and electronics recycling,” says Galvin.
Cobb County held a working session on garbage hauling that revealed similar issues. One of the issues was that residents had problems on certain roads because garbage trucks were physically in a dead end and unable to access their property. They had problems with garbage collection times and illegal dumping, she said.
“These issues are not unique to Sandy Springs. They are industry-wide issues,” Galvin said.
At the last meeting of the City Council, the composting subsidy was discussed. It’s what the city can grow, she said. About 25-30% of what goes to landfill is organic waste.
“Removing it takes up less landfill space and requires less pickup, which means less wear and tear on the road and less noise pollution,” she said.
Alderman John Paulson thanked Galvin for suggesting various possibilities for waste haulage services.
“Having said that, I don’t want to get into this business,” he said.
Mayor Rusty Paul said the landfill is expensive to build and is filling up.
“We have to find ways to reduce the amount of material entering the system,” he said.