Trash — it’s everywhere.
But when it comes to how cities deal with the trash their residents produce, about the only thing for certain is that they all deal with it somehow.
Some cities require residents to use carts. Others still allow old-fashioned bags or cans. Some cities have trash departments run by the city. Others have a laissez-faire system where private haulers can come in and compete for your business. Some allow you to throw your glass clippings in the trash. Others require you to recycle yard waste.
On Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners will dive into the world of trash. Commissioners will hold a study session with the city’s Solid Waste Task Force, and they are scheduled at their 6:35 p.m. meeting to take public comment on the task force’s final report.
Commissioners on Tuesday aren’t expected to make any final decisions on changes to the city’s system, but they will likely debate the subject for at least weeks to come.
With that in mind, the Journal-World gathered information about how other communities run their trash programs. We picked communities that were either close by, a university community, or, in the case of Emporia, because Lawrence’s director of public works oversaw the revamping of Emporia’s trash system more than a decade ago.
Here’s a look at the trash landscape, so to speak:
Type: City-owned-and-operated trash service
Rate: $14.94 per month for weekly residential trash service.
Curbside recycling: Not offered by the city. Private haulers offer various services.
Carts: Not mandated. Cans and bags are allowed.
Trash trucks: Most trash trucks operate with a three-person crew.
Yard waste: Weekly, curbside service offered in spring, winter and fall. Included in monthly base rate. Residents pay for the service regardless of whether they use it.
Pay attention here, as Lawrence leaders have been studying Olathe’s system for quite awhile.
Type: Trash and curbside recycling service owned and operated by the city.
Rate: $19.25 per month for once-a-week residential service.
Curbside recycling: Service provided once every two weeks. The service is included in the base rate, meaning residents pay for it, regardless of whether they use it.
Carts: Residents are required to use city-provided plastic carts for both trash and recycling. The carts are included in the base rate.
Excess trash: If residents can’t fit all their trash into the 95-gallon cart, the city will pick up a “reasonable” amount of bags for free.
Trash trucks: Most are one-person, fully-automated trucks. The driver operates a mechanical arm that reaches out and picks up the cart.
Yard waste: During spring, summer and fall, city operates weekly curbside yard waste pick-up. Service included in monthly, base rate.
Type: City has licensed four private companies that compete to provide trash service to residents. Residents can choose which company they choose to contract with.
Rate: Varies by company. For example: Deffenbaugh Industries, $24 per month for a 65-gallon cart, $26 for a 95-gallon cart; L&K Services, $23 per month; Town and Country Disposal, $50.25 per quarter.
Curbside recycling: Weekly service offered by all companies. Base rates include curbside recycling.
Carts: Deffenbaugh requires their use, while L&K and Town and Country don’t.
Excess trash: For those companies that require use of carts, extra bags can be set out for $1.25 per bag. Customers purchase a sticker that they attach to the bags.
Trucks: Deffenbaugh uses fully automated, one-person trucks. L&K and Town and Country have crews of two people per truck.
Yard waste: Seasonal curbside service provided. Included in base rate.
Type: Shawnee County owns and operates the department. Provides trash service for the entire county.
Rate: $15.26 per month, which includes a 90-gallon container.
Curbside recycling: Not offered currently.
Carts: Mandated usage, with exceptions for the elderly or disabled who physically can’t roll the carts.
Excess trash: Up to 15 bags of yard waste or trash can be set out per week for no extra charge. Also, one piece of furniture or large bulk item.
Trash trucks: Three-person crews.
Yard waste: Not recycled currently.
Chuck Soules, the city’s public works director, oversaw a revamping of this system while he was the public works director in Emporia.
Type: Owned and operated by the city.
Rate: $14.84 per month, includes one 95-gallon cart.
Curbside recycling: Not currently offered.
Carts: Mandated use.
Excess trash: Will pick up excess trash if resident calls for an appointment. General fee is $14.84 for 12 additional bags.
Trash trucks: One person, fully automated.
Yard waste: Not recycled. Can be thrown away with trash but must fit in the cart or pay an extra fee. City accepts yard waste for free at its composting site if residents deliver it.
By far the lowest trash/recycling rate we found. Also the city provided great detail about the amount of money it receives for allowing a single, private company to collect all its trash. The city received $1.5 million for a 10-year exclusive contract. In addition, the city receives 8.5 percent of every monthly bill to compensate the city.
Type: The city contracts with Stutzman Refuse Disposal to collect all trash. The city provides the billing as part of its water and sewer bills.
Rate: $10.05 per month.
Curbside recycling: Once every other week. Service is included in base rate.
Carts: Required. 95-gallon cart provided.
Excess trash: $1 per additional bag. Sticker system.
Trucks: One-person, fully automated.
Yard waste: Service not offered.
Welcome to the land of trash competition.
Type: Multiple private haulers. According to the city’s website, it appears at least six companies offer trash service in Manhattan.
Rate: Varies by company. Found one company at $19.50 per month with no cart. Another at $20 per month with a cart. One hauler refused to publicize the service’s price.
Curbside recycling: Most appeared to not offer the service. One did offer twice-a-month curbside recycling for an extra $8 per month.
Carts: Varies by company. At least one company requires carts.
Excess trash: The one company that uses carts indicated it will pick up a reasonable amount of extra bags on an occasional basis.
Truck size: Company with carts uses one-person automated truck. At least one company without carts uses a one-person, non-automated truck. In other words, the driver gets out and empties the trash.
Yard waste: Not currently recycled.
If Lawrence goes to carts and automated trucks, it won’t be the first city in the county to do so.
Type: City contracts with a single provider, Weldon Enterprises, to collect all trash. City handles billing.
Rate: $14.25 per month.
Curbside recycling: Not included in base rate. Can add for $5 per month.
Trucks: One-person, fully automated.
Excess trash: Additional bags for $1 per bag. Sticker system.
Yard waste: Can set out separate in approved bags for no charge.
Type: City contracts with Ottawa Sanitation Service to provide all trash service.
Rate: $11.50 per month.
Curbside recycling: Not offered by city currently.
Carts: Not required.
Trucks: Three-person crew
Yard waste: No curbside recycling service for yard waste.