SPANISH FORT – With more people staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, local waste haulers said they have seen big increases in trash pickups.
In Spanish Fort, 2020 brought not only an increase in people staying home and generating more household garbage and yard debris for collection, but a chance in the company making the pickups, city officials said.
Waste Pro was awarded the bid to collect Spanish Fort garbage at the end of December. Rick Chancey of Waste Pro said that lately, spring cleaning projects and people staying at home have caused a major increase in collections.
“Certainly, the yard waste has a big effect, but when you’ve got the yard waste from spring cleaning coupled with the fact that everybody’s been told to stay home our volume went up 35 percent overnight,” Chancey said.
He said the company did not get complete billing records when it took over collection and has been working to get out bills and inform residents about what can and cannot be left out for collection.
“The yard trash we started without any issues at all. When we got into spring cleaning, we have had some issues, but I think it’s more of communication,” Chancey said. “A lot of customers say ‘I don’t know. I didn’t get any information.’ When we started, we put a flier out to the citizens. When we delivered the carts, they had the rules and regulations on the back of the cart.”
Chancey said collection information includes limits on what can and cannot be left at the curb.
“If you go out and cut a tree down that’s 24 inches in diameter and pile all that out on the curb, that’s not what we think is the spirit of spring cleaning,” he said. “Those we do go out and offer a free estimate. Some folks take it. Some folks don’t.”
City Councilman J.R. Smith said most public reaction to the new company has been positive.
“Since y’all have taken over, I haven’t seen a whole lot of problems in my neighborhood,” Smith told Chancey at the City Council work session on May 18. “The only problem I see is that I do try to bundle mine and put small bundles outside and usually when I have some constituent complain that their stuff’s been sitting out there, they have it just lined up on the side of the road and I try to send them a copy saying this is what the contract says.”
In Daphne, Public Works Director Jeremy Sasser said collection levels are starting to return to normal.
“We’ve seen it slow down probably over the last two or three weeks,” Sasser told Daphne City Council members. “We should not be seeing any of the delays that we’ve already seen or any of the disrupted pickups. I think most of the people have gotten their honey-do projects done and we’re starting to get back into our normal spring routine.”