EnvironmentNeighborhoods

Inconsistent garbage pickup angers Champaign residents

Mona Alrazzaq / For CU-CitizenAccess

The inconsistent pick up by some commercial garbage-hauling companies has been sharply criticized residents in the Champaign area.

Despite an increase in complaints, no companies have received a fine from the city. The city also has no employee in the city’s public works department who is dedicated to dealing with complaints about waste haulers. 

Republic Services, a garbage-hauling company, has been the consistent target of many residents regarding inconsistent pickup days and garbage sitting on the curb for days. In October 2020, there was a mass cancelling of Republic Services in southwest Champaign.

Darrell Hoemann Republic Services picks up containers in southwest Champaign last year after residents cancelled their services because of lack of reliable pickup on October 8, 2020. Photo by CU-CitizenAccess.org

Residents have also complained that Republic charges them about $50 to pick up the bins after a resident cancels their service.

Republic Services did not return calls for comment.

Nichole Millage, environmental sustainability specialist for the City of Champaign, confirmed that complaints from residents have increased over the past year and many of the complaints are regarding Republic Services.

One of the biggest complaints about Republic Services specifically is that “they don’t pick up their services in a timely manner,” according to Millage. She also said that many customers were “unaware that in their contract or in the agreement they had that there was a fee to pick up containers if they wanted to cancel services.” 

Residents on the social networking service, Nextdoor, have echoed the concerns. Millage said that although residents are frustrated, it is company’s right to require a fee to pick up their bins.

Another major concern, Millage said, is the lack of organization regarding who should be responsible for dealing with this issue.

“Part of the issue is that there’s not really a designated person to do all of this. Somehow all of this ended up on my plate even though I’m the recycling coordinator,” Millage said.

When Millage gets these complaints, she works individually with the homeowner and the company in order to resolve the issue directly. She has not yet disciplined a company for their lack of pickup. 

Millage said she also has gotten a lot of complaints that the company Advanced Disposal has been promising residents to pick up trash on a certain day, but not showing up. 

“I’ve been getting a lot of complaints in the past year because they were having inconsistent service… and they blame that on a staff shortage saying that they’ve been having a hard time finding and keeping drivers,” Millage said. 

Advanced Disposal said it would make someone available to comment, but had not yet done so.

Millage says that she is the person who must “unofficially deal” with all of these complaints and “would rather avoid” charging companies a failure to comply fee because she believes directly solving the issue is simpler. 

Mona Alrazzaq / For CU-CitizenAccess

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