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Recycling Woes Have Residents Miffed

by Bobby Blair
June 3, 2018

Local residents seem to be venting their anger on local Facebook pages due to uncollected trash. Kimberly Ross seemed to sum up everyone's wonderment when she asked "can anyone give a simple response on recycling matters". It seems the answers weren't forthcoming from town hall as Susan Sabin wrote that she hadn't had recycling pick ups in three weeks. Sabin said she called the selectmen's office and had been guaranteed the issue would be resolved but "it didn't happen."

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Above: David Bastille of South Street posted the above photo of his recycling bins which have gone uncollected. Bastille wrote "a little like being stood up for a date". At a selectmen's meeting on March 12th, Woodland Street resident Aislinn Weaver told selectmen of her problems with uncollected recycling bins. A week later on March 19th Weaver returned. Representatives from Republic Services were on hand to hear Weaver's situation. Adam Grier and Dan Higgins noted that Republic has recently had a change in local management. Grier told selectmen that residents can phone their call center at 1-800-551-5584 for trash complaints. Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said his office fields several calls a day about trash problems. Chairman Kevin Conley said that Republic should have an email system for customer complaints instead of being left on hold for as much as a half hour. Selectmen Jay Marsden told Grier and Dan Higgins "I don't want you to look into the problem, I just want Weaver's trash picked up".

Another poster on Facebook stated "I think we should bring our recycling to the meeting June 18th at 7 pm. There will be representatives from Republic Services there to receive our complaints and recycling."

In a conversation on Monday morning with the HollistonReporter.com, Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said he has notified the Regional Director of Republic Services of the situation and asked Republic to make a public statement. Ritter is unsure if the company's woes are labor, mechanical or management related. Ritter said the company is under assessment for service and performance by the town and the town is also considering to take the company to task for breach of contract. Ritter said he understood that two crews were working on Monday to catch up with delayed recycling pickups.

 

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Comments (30)

I've never had a problem with my trash or recycling **knocks on wood** Picture above shows a pizza box on top of the recycling bin which is clearly listed as an item that can not be recycled. Are they skipping people that aren't doing their recycling properly?

- Paul Barrows | 6/8/18 11:14 AM

I have never lived in a town that picked up condo's trash. Its the selectmen's fault for having some condos on pickup and some not. So I totally see the point the condos are making. I emailed the CEO of Republic earlier this week and have not received an response. Leadership starts at the top and no response back just tells me this is a loser company. There is an investment company that owns 30% of their stock. I am going to go there next. A $9B company might think they push small towns around but I don't mess around. I am also going to flooded their stock message boards with this information as well.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/8/18 11:04 AM

Our trash was not picked up today. It could be all over the street by the morning if our raccoon visitors come knocking. Towns are now fining Republic. I think Holliston needs to start doing this. Another story about Republic. There are many more if you google it. https://www.google.com/amp/www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20180508/freetown-will-not-renew-trash-contract-with-republic-services%3ftemplate=ampart

- Sharon Burkhardt | 6/7/18 8:20 PM

Seems the Selectman are very "trash challenged" in this town. After attending Town Meeting twice...last spring and last fall...to vote on extending trash pickup to town condominiums..WHICH VOTERS PASSED TWICE!!!! condos still don't get trash picked up...EVER! To quote Jay Marsden in the MetroWewst Daily News with respect to the condo trash... "its no big deal". With that kind of leadership - Good luck with Republic

- Mary Foniri | 6/7/18 9:26 AM

I'm...speechless. Ron

- Ron Karkovice | 6/7/18 8:29 AM

None of this can explain why recycling is perfectly fine in some parts of town. Our street hasn't missed a week for either trash or recycling.

- Mark | 6/6/18 6:19 PM

Brutal.

- Ron Karkovice | 6/6/18 1:36 PM

Peter Simpson, I assume that Bill Littlefield was referring to this article. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/06/04/new-china-policies-spark-disarray-region-recycling-industry/d9QH2JUtnVqRKaAL8kMkiL/story.html

- Michelle Zeamer | 6/6/18 1:25 PM

Article in todays Wall Street Journal. Can't post link bc you need a subscription. Basically Waste companies got lazy and did not sort the stuff they were selling to china. China got fed up with the trash they were buying. Also prices for recyclables has dropped. So I take it back. it was not China;s fault. It was the companies cutting corners for profits.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/6/18 1:04 PM

@Donald - There is an article in Boston Globe explaining this issue. There is a recycle processing plant in Westborough I think that has a tons of recycling in their parking lot because they can't sell it to China and have no where to put it. If our recycling gets incinerated why do we recycle. I honestly have no idea how this industry works but I find it hard to believe that a $9B company can't pick up recycling in many towns all of a sudden. Also rates are going way up. New Bedford is suing their company now because they raised rates. I think another town killed the recycle program all together. I did not even know we sent our recycling to china. Also how does a $9B company just stay silent on the issue? We are considering private pickup or just buying a lot of stickers and not recycling anymore. I know that's not an option for a lot of people but I am sick of looking at it everyday on my curb. Either provide the service we pay for our adjust the business so that I can get rid of my trash/recycling.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/6/18 12:39 PM

It's a great look for prospective home buyers. "Oh look, it's recycling day, in the entire town!

- Donald Yokes | 6/6/18 9:58 AM

@Bill Littlefield: I doubt our recycling pickup issue can be blamed on China. My understanding is that the recycling just gets put in with the trash and incinerated in Grafton if there's no demand for it. I can't figure out how to blame it on Trump either.

- Peter Simpson | 6/6/18 9:12 AM

This is outrageous.

- Ron Karkovice | 6/6/18 8:18 AM

Wow....you mean there are problems that actually aren't Trump's fault?

- Stan Coffin | 6/5/18 9:36 PM

Apparently this is an issue with China. They won't take certain items anymore and the recycle plants have to sort through all of the recycling now. Some plants have so much stuff to sort they can't take any new stuff. Also rates are going way up. This is a problem for every company and not just Republic. Not sure what the answer is.

- Bill Littleifid | 6/5/18 1:31 PM

Apparently Millis is having major issues with Republic also. It actually made Fox 25 News. It sounds much worse. Looks like a precursor for what is to come in Holliston. Time to fire them and find a new company. https://www.fox25boston.com/news/residents-look-for-answers-as-trash-piles-up-in-millis/762781719

- Sharon Burkhardt | 6/5/18 11:33 AM

Recycle pick-up on Chamberlain Street, did no happen on Friday 6/1/18 and did occur on Saturday 6/2/18. I called Republic 0n Monday 6/4/18 and spoke to a woman and she said " I will put this lack the recycle pick-up into our system and it should be picked up on Tuesday June 5th sometime during the day." She did not tell me what year! Carmen Chiango 6/5/18

- Carmen Chiango | 6/5/18 9:17 AM

Spoke to town clerk Monday @ 10:am. She said our street would be added to the list. Guess what, it is Tuesday and we still have not had a pickup. Now I have more recycling in my garage!

- Jeannie Des Marais | 6/5/18 7:57 AM

If this situation were only when the holiday schedule was in effect there would be a reason. Recycling on my street has not been picked up on the regular schedule in weeks. We leave it at the curb and usually in the next day or two they come back. This is a problem. This past week they never came, my neighbors and I have had recycling out for a week. This is unacceptable. I have notified The Board of Selectman each time, I have called the company, this past time nothing worked.

- Karen Langton | 6/5/18 5:42 AM

We've had more and more issues recently as well. We are Thursday's pickup and recycling finally got picked up late this afternoon. Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!! Some weeks it isn't picked up at all. Why the change within the past few months?

- Alison Malcolm | 6/4/18 10:08 PM

As of 6/4 at 6:15PM my recycle buckets are still awaiting pickup. Under the holiday schedule they should have been picked up on Friday. I called Republic's customer service number on Saturday and a nice lady in North Carolina said she couldn't tell if they already knew about it or not. She said they might come by on Saturday, or maybe not. They also might send a truck on Monday, or maybe not. But she would put it in their system. Today it looks like some neighbors' recycle bins had been picked up and some hadn't. Maybe this is part of our crumbling infrastructure. The good news is that it's only a few more days until we are scheduled for another weekly pickup.

- Lou Tabaldi | 6/4/18 6:25 PM

The issue for my neighborhood is *not* related to holidays. It started over the winter and has continued every week. Our recycling has not picked up on our regularly scheduled day once in many months.

- Gretchen | 6/4/18 5:55 PM

From their website. Also they only have 5 driver jobs open in Ma and none are near Metrowest. Republic Services is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste. Through our subsidiaries, Republic's collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations, and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for our 14 million customers. We'll handle it from here., our brand promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/4/18 5:50 PM

I have been following this for a few months. Seems the backup has been moving through town. Brentwood just had their first late day of recycling this past week. Thursday pickup was supposed to be Friday but came early Saturday. Seems that this company is behind and its not catching up but getting further behind. I have lived in many towns/cities and this past week was the first time in over 20 years of home ownership that I had a missed day. From the comments I see on social media it seems like this company is trying to catch up/get back on schedule but my guess is there is some issue that is preventing this from happening. My guess is either a shortage of labor or the company is too cheap to get more trucks. My guess is some drivers have left the company and with the tight labor market its tough for them to find drivers. I am going to check out there website and see if they have any openings. if not then the problem is operational. If this was my company I would have sent out a press release by now explaining the issue and how I would plan on correcting. But with the lack of communication my guess is this company just sucks at what they do - Not the drivers, but the owner and management.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/4/18 5:47 PM

I'm not happy.

- Ron Karkovice | 6/4/18 4:51 PM

Every time there's a holiday it's the people with Friday pickups who get hosed. The Saturday trash is always a mess, even when they do show up. Can we rotate what day of the week each area has each year?

- Jason Breslau | 6/4/18 12:52 PM

For the record, last Saturday's recycling on Rockland Street was picked up this (Monday) morning. So Republic, while evidently having its problems, seems to have listened and responded, which is a good sign.

- David Bastille | 6/4/18 11:54 AM

It's annoying, because there was no problem getting recycling picked up last year. Something has changed. Our trash gets picked up just fine, but sometimes the recycling just never gets collected. When the recycling DOES get collected, it happens much later than the trash pickup (3-4PM vs 7AM for the trash).

- Peter Simpson | 6/4/18 11:34 AM

Part of the problem could be that we are using a very dated way to recycle. The guys have to get out of the truck to dump the bins. This company wanted to move Holliston into the 21st century and have the big totes that the truck picks up and also recycling would only be every other week. I am not sure why we did not go to this system. Either way this better corrected ASAP. If not I may consider filing a small claims case against Republic every time they miss my street. I pay for 52 trash pick ups a year. I should be getting a refund for anything less than 52 weeks.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/4/18 10:56 AM

This is not rocket science. Seems every time we have the holiday delay these people have NO intention of coming for the recycling. Has it occurred to anyone to hold these people accountable under the contract? There are contract clauses providing financial penalties for failure to perform. With our taxes going sky high lately, it seems its not asking too much to engage a company that will pick up the recycling as they are contractually required. It's time for leadership on this very important quality of life issue for all residents.

- John Locke | 6/4/18 10:46 AM

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