Trash pickup: Share the good, the bad, and the ugly

by beth on July 3, 2018

Post image for Trash pickup: Share the good, the bad, and the ugly

Above: Most little boys love garbage trucks. But some area adults may not be as enthralled this year. (book image from amazon; uncollected garbage image from consumer complaint website)

Between news on this year’s Transfer Station permit fees, and open thread questions, commenters have been “talking” about curbside trash pickup.

A reader reached out to me to let me know about issues he had with his previous trash hauler. He noticed customers in town who seemed to have uncollected trash build up recently. And he pointed out that we’re not the only town with issues.

(I found stories about issues between Republic and selectmen for West Boylston in the telegram and selectmen for Holliston in Metrowest Daily News. Other news stories are further flung.)

I don’t have experience as a curbside pickup customer. And I don’t want to pick on one pickup service. (One reader’s problem trash collector could be treasured by another who never bothered to comment. And I don’t know if googling a competitor to Republic would bring up similar stories for them.)

But, some of you may be making a decision whether to buy a new Transfer Station permit before yours expires in mid-September, or to hook up with someone to haul your garbage away. So, it seems like a good idea to offer current and potential customers a dedicated forum.

Do you have a curbside service in Southborough? Who is your provider? How much does it run you? Are you happy with the service? Or are you experiencing occasional small issues or major problems?

Are you considering switching to curbside or changing vendors? Do you have questions to ask other readers on the costs, pros, and cons?

Note: I will run another post soon on signing up for new Transfer Station stickers. I the meantime, for those of you who need a reminder of the alternative costs – Residents under 65 years old will pay $250 for full access Transfer Station permit stickers for up to three vehicles this year. For recycling only access – again, up to three cars – the cost is $75.

Residents 65 and older by the end of December 2018 are entitled to free-full access stickers. (By “free”, I mean no permit fees. Yes, I know it’s subsidized by taxes.) Click here for the Town’s official page with more details on registering.

1 Southviller July 3, 2018 at 12:35 PM

We use Tidy Town (which is under Harvey) and have never had a single issue. In fact, we have seen our trash get taken for us from the bottom of the driveway when we have forgotten to take it out, and when we’ve left out an extra bag or oversized item it has always been taken, no fees. It is collectively $360 for the year for their largest dumpster, but we split it between our dual family home, so it saves compared to the transfer station.

Between composting at home, and donating used goods back into the town whenever possible, we are happy with our easy little system. The only time I envied the transfer station is when we had an insane amount of brush to move after winter storms.

2 Adam July 6, 2018 at 10:15 AM

We’ve also used Harvey for over 3 years and never once have they missed a pick-up. We’ve also set out extra items on occasion and they take them no questions asked. They do only pick up recyclables every other week and you have to provide your own container for them. It is definitely more expensive than the transfer station sticker but the convenience is well worth it for us.

3 PB12 July 4, 2018 at 8:29 AM

This is an interesting article to see. We have had problems recently with Republic but didn’t know others were too. Starting around December they would call the day before pickup and say it was delayed a day. Then they started calling the day of pickup at 2:00 in the afternoon to say it was canceled for the week. I didn’t understand how they didn’t know earlier. Apparently they can’t find drivers ( or aren’t willing to pay them enough). We canceled service and went to Harvey. It’s only been a month but so far so good. Our new problem is getting the receptacle back to Republic. They make an appointment but don’t show up. Then they told me to leave it out for a week! And they still didn’t show up.

Does anyone need a large trash receptacle or can we put it in the hopper at the transit station?

4 Theo July 4, 2018 at 9:52 AM

We now use Mr Trashman. I really like that they are reachable and proactive about communication. We haven’t had any issues with them. I think that they are great so far.
We recently switched from Republic, who kept missing our pickup, had no communication about service disruptions, and were very difficult to deal with because they are a national chain setup in Arizona. So stay away from them if you want any accountability.
Price for either is comparable, and we get billed quarterly.
The curbside service is great.
The only downside for this is that they (regardless of the company) will not pick up yard waste (large quantities) because of landfill restrictions. So you either have to get someone do your fall cleanup (leaves, etc), or need to get a recycling only sticker. I really wish the town had a yard waste only sticker.

5 Carl Guyer July 6, 2018 at 7:36 AM

Really guys, a $250 hand out to everyone over 65 in an affluent community when the Board of Selectmen have set up a process for those truly in need to get help with paying for these permits.

Does this policy really help with encouraging recycling when a quarter of the users are unaffected by cost of operating the facility? Sound environmental policy does not include incentives for irresponsible behavior.

Don’t you love the the large “Free Transfer Station” signs advertising this exercise in poor judgement.

6 Southsider July 6, 2018 at 8:18 AM

We also recently switched from Republic to Mr. Trashman, for the same issues as noted above. In addition, Republic had recently made the rather astounding decision to sharply increase our rates at the same time as they were not showing up every other week. We got a much better deal from Mr. Trashman and service has been good over the short time we’ve had them. We heard that Republic had a lot of issues with trucks being old and in need of replacement and that this part of the reason for the slide in service. Judging by the increased number of Harvey, TidyTown, Orifice, and Mr. Trashman bins around town, we all have much better options.

Our Republic bin (and that of our neighbors who also switched) has been sitting out for several weeks waiting for a promised pickup. Any communication with Republic typically requires an hour on hold and they routinely make promises they don’t follow up on, so the path to resolving this is unclear. It would be great if the town would put pressure on them to clean this up if they want to have a business in Southborough at all.

7 Pam Dietz July 9, 2018 at 6:17 AM

I am a former Southborough Resident who moved to Northborough, our whole town has trash collection. I purchased a Trash Compactor and only use pickup every other week. In ten years of living in Northborough I have never paid more than $150 to have my trash picked up using their pay as you throw bags (the bags are horrible, but that’s a different issue). It definitely encourages recycling, but that’s how I keep my trash costs down.

8 Fayville July 10, 2018 at 12:15 PM

I too have my old Republic Services bin sitting around taking up space. I have given up hope that they will ever take it away. Any suggestions for how to get rid of the damn thing would be appreciated.

Switched to Mr. Trashman and they are fantastic and highly responsive.

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