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Trash pickup begins to bulk up in Cape Coral

City’s new trash collection contract sets day for big items

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 24, 2020

Cape Coral residents now have a designated bulk item pickup day in a move by the city to help reduce waste left along residential streets.

As the city embarks into a new contact with Waste Pro beginning Oct. 1, soft-runs of the new bulk pick up program have been talking place throughout the city as of last week. Cape Coral Public Works Strategic Business Analyst Stacy Maine said while week one had its issues, they are seeing improvements as the program starts to acclimate. Bulk items are now to be set out for pick up the day after your regularly scheduled trash collection day.

“We wanted to do a soft-style run to work through the kinks, because clearly there were a lot last week,” Maine said.

While it may take some time for the new system to work as cohesively as possible, Maine said Waste Pro picked up double the amount of bulk on week one in comparison to the three previous weeks under the old system.

Previously, residents were able to put out unlimited bulk with their trash and specific bulk drivers (one per each of the five regions) would collect throughout the week. In some cases, areas were being missed with residents complaining that sometimes trash would be left on curbsides for weeks on end. Now, there is a specific bulk day for residents to discard of their larger items and five bulk drivers will be assigned to each area of the city.

While Public Works did receive many phone calls last week on areas missed and inquiries about the new schedule, week two is showing improvements thus far.

“It looks like they are starting to get the routes nailed down,” Maine said. “It’s going to take some time for the drivers to learn the routes.”

Maine said a component of the bulk item pick up and trash left along curbs involves making sure residents put out the right items that fit the criteria for bulk pick up.

“Just because we do have weekly bulk pick up, that doesn’t mean Waste Pro has to up it up if it’s non-compliant,” Maine said. “If it’s just trash piled on top of each other or loose trash, they don’t have to pick it up.”

Bulk items can include mattresses, couches, chairs, dressers and other large items that do not fit in the designated waste receptacle. Items such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and freezers are not included in bulk pick up and residents should call Waste Pro to schedule a day to collect those major appliances.

Maine said the new contract with Waste Pro was agreed upon due to familiarity of the area and looking at other waste services in the state and their rates. Maine said the majority of other options would have included a massive monetary increase for the city. Waste Pro will receive a 9% increase (7% year one, 1% each year after) from the city over the first three years of the contract.

Maine said having a new company acclimate to the area without much of a change in service just didn’t make sense.

“In talking to other (municipalities) about their service, everyone’s having the same service issues,” Maine said. “Waste Pro isn’t much different (than any other company). They all have their issues. We felt that with our relationship with Waste Pro and all of the community things they do for us and the fact that they are familiar with the routes, to go through starting with a whole new company and all of the growing pains that comes with — it’s never easy starting with a new waste company.”

Maine said this new agreement also holds Waste Pro accountable for their quality of service.

“Now we know if trash is still there the day after they’re supposed to get it picked up, they actually missed it,” Maine said.

Maine said they are willing to agree to increase the number of bulk drivers if needed as is agreed upon in the new contract.

To contact Waste Pro, call 239-337-0800.

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj