On Monday, August 8, 2022, the Council Bluffs City Council approved a ten-year contract with Waste Connections that includes new and improved solid waste and recycling collection services, which goes into effect in July 2023.
Waste Connections is the current vendor for City solid waste collection services, delivering continuity of services as Waste Connections will retain the same drivers, management staff, customer service operations, and familiarity with the customer base. The services provided will be upgraded to reflect industry standards via automated collection.
“More and more cities are switching to automated trash collection,” said Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh. “The City of Council Bluffs aims to provide efficient and cost-effective services, and drivers can make approximately 60% more stops per hour with an automated truck. Not only does that help our efficiency, but it reduces our carbon footprint and lessens wear and tear on our roads.”
The benefits of automated solid waste collection include reducing work-related injuries, decreasing employee turnover, easy-to-move carts on wheels, cleaner neighborhood streets, uniformity of carts, and less wear and tear on roads.
To provide automated collection services, Waste Connections is purchasing a new fleet of garbage and recycling trucks and will provide a 96-gallon recycling cart and a 96-gallon garbage cart to each household on City solid waste services. Waste Connections will purchase the carts and manage the process for assembly, distribution, repairs, and provide services for recycling and disposal of old containers. For households with small amounts of solid waste, there will be an option to select 48-gallon carts. Alternatively, options for purchasing extra bag tags or extra carts for households that need more capacity will be available. The City will release specific details about the new carts early next year.
“To gain insight from the residents of Council Bluffs, we hosted two public meetings and solicited feedback online in March of 2022,” said Tony Fiala, City of Council Bluffs Solid Waste Management Superintendent. “Many of the comments reflected the need for options regarding cart size and yard waste collection. We took this information to heart and devised a contract accordingly.”
Solid Waste services provided under the new contract include weekly co-mingled garbage and yard waste collection with additional yard waste collection during peak times in the fall and spring. By eliminating a separate weekly yard waste collection, the City of Council Bluffs is saving over $1 million, reducing carbon emissions, and lessening the wear and tear on City roads.
Another new service is single-stream recycling, where residents do not need to sort recyclables; instead, all recyclables can go in the same 96-gallon recycling cart. Recycling collection will occur every-other week. Glass will no longer be accepted via curbside recycling for safety reasons. Glass can still be recycled at the City’s recycling drop-off containers and the Council Bluffs Recycling Center.
“It’s nearly impossible to remove broken glass from other sorted recyclables,” said Fiala. “Eliminating glass from the curbside recycling process helps keep employees safe and makes the end product more marketable.”
The curbside collection of bulky waste and appliances is not changing. Residents will still be able to schedule two bulky waste pick-ups and two appliance pick-ups each year. There will be no changes to the current recycling drop-off containers or the services provided at the Council Bluffs Recycling Center. The new contract does not go into effect until July 2023. The City of Council Bluffs will provide specific details and updates as they become available. Follow the City of Council Bluffs on Facebook @CityofCB or subscribe to website alerts at councilbluffs-ia.gov.
“We’re excited about the improved services coming soon,” said Fiala. “We will continue updating the community to ensure everyone is ready for the new system by July 2023.”