RED BANK: TALKING TRASH, AND RECYCLING

red bank trash delisaThe borough switched to private garbage pickup in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Five years after Red Bank privatized trash and recycling pickup, residents and business owners will soon be asked: how’s that working out for you?

More particularly, they’ll be asked how quickly their garbage cans and recycling bins fill up.

The borough government plans to survey users about their needs for trash and recycling pickups, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said last week.

The survey comes as the borough prepares to solicit bids for a new trash and recycling haulage contract.

The contract is currently held by Delisa Demolition, of Tinton Falls, which won the work with a $1.49 million, three-year bid in 2015 that was extended by two years under and option held by the borough.

The new contract would be effective September 1, and will also be structured as three-year deal with as two-year option, said Shehady.

The aim of the proposed survey is to get feedback from the public on an issue that “doesn’t come up all that often” because of the intervals between contract renewals, Shehady said at the council’s June 3 workshop session.

That feedback includes the number of trash and recycling cans put out at the curb, which will help the administration understanding “if once-a-week garbage collection is enough and whether once-every-two-week recycling is enough,” he said.

“Having a survey like this gets the residents engaged in the decision-making process so you can appropriately award a contract based on what the demands of the community are,” Shehady said.

Shehady said a similar study he oversaw at a prior job “helped inform a decision where we actually changed to once-a-week recycling, and it helped us see our recycling numbers go up and our trash numbers go down.”

Red Bank now picks up trash twice weekly and recycling twice monthly.

If people find their recycling bin is full days before a scheduled pickup, “then they’re going to toss most of that stuff in their garbage,” Shehady said.

“It’s better for the environment, it’s better financially,” if recycling remains in the recycling stream, he said.

The borough now pays $520,000 a year in collection fees and another $490,000 in trash tipping fees, “so this is a significant cost to the borough,” said public utilities director Cliff Keen.

“It’s really important for us to get as much information as we can before we enter into another five-year contract,” he said.

Answers to the survey will collected online and by telephone, with property owners alerted to it via postcard to every household in the next 30 days, Shehady told redbankgreen.

“This is not like a referendum question,” in which the response is binding, he told the council. “It’s just to help” the administration make a recommendation to the governing body about the frequency of collection, he said.

The next contract expires is also expected to be a three-year deal with a two-year renewal option for the borough.

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