MMWA offers a cart option for curbside service

Mid-Michigan Waste Authority (MMWA) Executive Director Katharine Tessin speaks to the Chesaning Township Council about its upcoming decision on curbside garbage collection and recycling services. Pictured are Ticino (left), Chesaning Township Administrator Pete Hemgesberg (center) and Chesaning Township Treasurer Cathy Gross (right). Photo of Jeanne Marcello

CHESANING — At the Thursday, July 7 meeting of the Chesaning Township Council, Mid-Michigan Waste Authority (MMWA) Executive Director Katharine Tessin spoke about the new solid waste collection and recycling contract that will go into effect. on January 1, 2023.

She explained that the MMWA was formed in the mid-1990s and started collecting in 1996. Ticino explained that the organization provides a way to obtain lower collection prices by bringing together many municipalities to negotiate with providers. The MMWA as a whole negotiates curbside services for 34 municipalities totaling approximately 68,000 households. Waste Management has supplied MMWA member communities for over 20 years.

Ticino said: “Solid waste contracts tend to be very long term.” She explained that this year all MMWA solid waste collection contracts expire. This includes contracts for solid waste collection, landfilling, collection of recyclables and composting of yard waste.

“We received four offers this year: Enterra, Green for Life (which bought Billy’s), Priority Waste and Waste Management,” Ticino said.

She explained that there are 34 member municipalities, each with a voting member and an alternate. There are nine members of the Executive Committee who reviewed/assessed all nominations, they are led by Thomas Township Director Russ Taylor.

The executive committee has decided to offer MMWA communities two nomination options. Priority waste with manual collection, or a choice of waste management or priority waste with carts. She explained that the Town of Saginaw, Frankenmuth and the Township of Frankenmuth have opted for manual pickup. Vendors prefer to go with the carts, due to the difficulty of hiring enough people willing to get out of the trucks and manually lift the trash into the trucks.

Ticino said: “Priority Waste is new. They are young and very hungry. They started in 2019 with the city of Hamtramck (and expanded to several other major cities). Their vehicles are not from 2018, with a lot of technology on board. I did several reference checks on them.

Waste Management would replace/upgrade its fleet from diesel trucks to compressed natural gas, if awarded the contract.

She explained that under the new contracts with the two suppliers, for communities selecting carts, each customer would receive two 96-gallon carts; one for solid waste and one for recyclables. They would be provided as part of the contract.

Ticino said: “When it comes to recycling, not everyone recycles. Many people don’t know how to recycle. When you give people a cart, they can start. For people who do not know how to recycle, they now have the instructions in front of them (on the cart). For those who know how to recycle, they can recycle more. Recycling is a commodity. Items must be clean, empty and dry. Carts keep recyclables dry and covered.

She then talked more about the issue of driver recruitment. “Manual garbage collection – it’s the fifth deadliest profession. It’s physically demanding. When I look at five to 10 years, I worry about how you force people to do the work. Carried waste is physically less demanding.

It should also be noted that the Priority Waste contract is for a period of five years with an option to extend for five years. The waste management contract is for a period of 10 years.

According to Ticino, each community decides which company it chooses, Priority Waste or Waste Management.

“Services are changing January 1,” she said, explaining that Waste Management would first have a transition period in order to get the new carts and trucks.

Tessin explained that some communities that select carts choose to switch from recycling weekly to recycling every two weeks (every two weeks). There are significant savings and the carts provide enough space to store recyclables for several weeks.

She said that so far the Township of Thomas, Township of Saginaw, Township of Tittabawassee, Township of Buena Vista, Township of Kochville and Township of Bridgeport are leaning towards the 10-year waste management contract. .

The Town of Saginaw, Frankenmuth and the Township of Frankenmuth are leaning towards the five-year Priority Waste Contract.

Tessin said: “The carts have a 10-12 year warranty.” Carts have built-in tracking devices.

Families who regularly produce more waste than the carts contain can pay to add another cart. However, the carts hold a lot.

Ticino said: “Each supplier structures prices based on a certain behavior. Vendors invest in carts. They want people to go to the carts.

Chesaning Township Administrator Bill Hedrich asked if the collection would still include large items and if people occasionally had extra trash.

Tessin replied: “It’s not rigid. There was only graduation season. Customers can place a few extra bags next to the carts if needed. They will continue to pick up no more than two bulky items.

The cost of curbside service has not yet been calculated, as the more communities that sign up for one service or the other, the more the cost will be impacted. The more customers, the lower the cost per customer.

Chesaning Township Supervisor Joseph Ruthig asked how much time council had to make its decision. Tessin said the contracts should be signed in early September. The township is expected to vote on the curbside collection contract at its Aug. 4 or Sept. 1 meetings.