Solar-powered trash cans, bigger recycling bins on the way for Oak Park

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

The Village of Oak Park is keeping its current garbage man for another five years, rather than sending the current deal to the trash heap and looking for another.

And with the new agreement, Waste Management, which collects garbage for single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings, is offering a couple of new perks. Those include rolling out 10 solar-powered trash compactors/recycling kiosks to the public, and upping the size of recycling containers by an additional 32 gallons.

Waste Management has been hauling trash for the village since 1998, and its current contract is set to expire at the end of this year. Trustees decided to stick with the Houston-based company, rather than seeking competitive bids, because they believe Oak Park is receiving a "hometown discount," and residents seem to be pleased with their service.

"We get a lot of emails about a lot of different things, but I don't ever remember getting one about Waste Management which, in this village, is really saying something," said Trustee Colette Lueck. "You must be doing a good job."

The new contract, which requires a final approval, likely to happen in July, calls for annual rate increases over the next five years that are tied to the consumer price index, but are capped at no more than 4 percent annually.

Waste Management officials said they kept rate increases to a minimum, just enough for them to break even. They gave Oak Park a fair deal, they said, because of the environmentally friendly efforts of the village. Public works officials said that other communities who have tried to go out for bid have seen rate increases of around 30 percent off the bat.

"We've been losing money on this contract, but we value our relationship with Oak Park immensely," said Mark Dykema, a district manager for Waste Management. "Some of these initiatives we've talked about here, we really can't do these in other communities as pilots, because you guys embrace environmental stewardship."

In the first year of the contract, homeowners would pay about $1.61 extra each month for their waste-hauling services. Garbage and recycling costs are bundled into water and sewage charges billed by the village.

Trustee John Hedges was the only official who voted against sticking with the waste hauler. He, too, is happy with their service, but was reticent to go nearly 20 years without testing the market.

Reader Comments

13 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 16th, 2011 10:26 AM

"No Bid" contract!

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 2:14 PM

John Hedges has a point. Twenty years in a period of huge industrial change is probably time to test to the market. While VM might not be that best starting point, long term contracts deserve a close look every time they are up for bid.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 2:08 PM

If we all strategically place the huge recycle bins to block a bit of the alley street, we may be able to slow down some of the transient traffic's alley speeding.

Dale Fitschen from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 1:56 PM

The new contract sounds good, but even bigger, that is wider, trash containers won't fit in any space we have available. That may be true for others.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 10:36 AM

The Village Board expects to review a contract proposal from Waste Management at a future meeting. Not finalized yet.

O P Rez  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 9:34 PM

Murtagh said a positive thing? Wow! - But not for the Village. SHUCKS

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 9:15 PM

Interesting to note that Waste Management is going to see annual rate increases tied to the consumer price index. Too bad the same deal cannot be provided to social security recipents or the average worker. Costs continue to rise but wages remain stagnant. It's time to place the middle class of this country on the endangered list.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 9:07 PM

I think VM does a great job particularly in the winter with the snowy and icy alleys. Really nice people who wave to kids in the windows during pickups.

Anastasia from Oak Park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 4:22 PM

It's too bad the Village laid off the recycling coordinator more than two years ago. She resolved problems very quickly, educated the residents about green living, and so much more.

mmoskos@att.net from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 3:07 PM

I have been pleased with WM. I do not need a larger recycling bin. Could we have the option of keeping the one we have at a lesser cost then the new cost? I do recycle everything that is recyclable. I wash all my jars bottle and cans in the dishwasher and compact everything I can.

LiquidEvil from Oak Park  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 2:22 PM

Bigger recycling bins? That's great - recycling tends to stack up in my house, so this is welcome news.

kelly  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 2:05 PM

Finally we're getting bigger recycling bins! Soooo happy about this!! But this article doesnt say WHEN we are getting them? Writer, can you tell us please??

OP resident  

Posted: June 14th, 2011 1:26 PM

If Waste Management's job is to pick up our trash, then why is there always trash spilled and left in the alley when it is collected? WM does a terrible job!!!

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