In an effort to save taxpayer money, create a more efficient system and cut back on overtime hours, the city of Camas and Waste Connections of Washington are revamping garbage/recycling pick-up schedules for thousands of residents.
The garbage/recycling service changes, set to take effect Monday, June 3, have been about two years in the making.
“If you had garbage pick-up for the last 30 years on a Tuesday and now it’s on a Wednesday, it’s a big deal,” Sam Adams, the city of Camas’ utilities manager, told city council members in July 2018, when city leaders learned details of the planned garbage collection redo. “It will be a big change.”
Camas’ solid waste operations staff members, along with Adams and the city’s consultant, Chris Bell of Chris Bell and Associates, spent more than a year reviewing the city’s garbage collection system in a bid to help Camas handle future growth and reduce costly overtime hours.
City staff and garbage collectors expect the changes may take some time for Camas residents to get used to.
“Typically it takes 90 days for people to (remember) and get into a routine,” Bell told city councilors in July 2018.
Adams said city staff would be understanding during those first few months, and try to make the switch as painless as possible for customers.
“It is a big change … and we’ll work with folks,” Adams said in 2018.
The changes will affect about 3,000 Camas households, businesses and organizations — roughly 40 percent of Camas’ 7,302 garbage collection customers.
For customers who have three services — garbage, recycling and yard debris — bins will be collected on the same day each week, but that collection day, as well as the collection time, may change from the day/time customers have now. Yard debris will continue to be collected every other week.
For customers who have just garbage and recycling pick-ups, both bins will be collected on the same day of the week but that day — and the pick-up time — may change. All customers will be required to have bins on the curb by 6:30 a.m. under the new system.
The biggest changes are happening on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Monday collection routes going from 522 customers to 1,410 customers, and Wednesday collections dropping from 2,802 customers to 1,475.
Garbage collectors also will decrease their pick-ups by 93 stops on Tuesdays and add 376 stops and 156 stops on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
The changes make the daily routes more equitable, with garbage collectors making between 1,384 and 1,535 pick-ups each weekday instead of the widely varied current system, which has 522 pick ups on Mondays and 2,802 on Wednesdays right now.
The city sent letters to customers affected by the changes this week and will send an automated phone call the day before customers’ new collection day. Customers whose phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry, or who have not updated their contact information, will not receive an automated phone call.
The city will not contact customers who are keeping their scheduled pick-up day. Those customers who also receive yard debris collection should begin putting that bin out with the garbage and recycling bins the week of June 3.
For recycling and yard debris questions: Email Waste Connections at email@example.com or call 360-892-5370. For garbage collection questions, email the city of Camas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-834-2462.
For more information, visit cityofcamas.us.