BARBERTON, Ohio – Cold weather is being partially blamed for long delays in trash collection, prompting frustration among Barberton residents.
Trash bins overflowed on some streets where residents said they waited more than two weeks between collection, far longer than a standard one-day delay due to a holiday.
Several people said they placed calls to trash collection company Republic Services as well as the office of Mayor William Judge, but the delays continued.
“With the holidays you have people over, you're cooking more, you're purchasing things for your home and you have to put it somewhere,” said Jacki Tanner, who lives on 16th Street NW and said before Wednesday, her trash had last been picked up on December 18th.
“I'm paying them to pick up my trash, so just pick my trash up, and I'm happy. That's all we're asking is to get our trash picked up.”
Republic Services blamed high trash volume from the holidays coupled with cold temperatures.
Rick Vannan, General Manager for Republic Services, sent a letter to Judge Wednesday apologizing for the “influx of calls” his office received.
“Holiday collections contain their own set of challenges due to the significant increase in volumes,” he wrote. “And, unfortunately, coupled with ‘single digit’ temperatures which have inherently not arrived until late January or early February, we have experienced a spike in equipment failures related to fuel and hydraulics.”
In the letter, Vannan said operations staff has been evaluating service in Barberton by reviewing route sheet comments, complaint calls and interviewing drivers. He also noted Department of Transportation requirements limit the number of hours drivers can work.
“It is my commitment to you that all trash and recycling is collected on the scheduled day between the operating hours identified in our agreement with the City,” he wrote. “I will continue to monitor the routes and the productivity to ensure we meet your expectation as we continue to move through these issues.”
Judge’s office said he is determined to resolve the situation and has been assured all routes will be caught up by the end of this week. He asked residents for patience and said they should keep trash containers at the curb until trash is collected.
The city’s trash collection contract is coming up for bid in the coming weeks, the city said.
Tracy Skenandore, a spokesperson for Republic Services, said the company expects to be fully on schedule within the next few days and by next week.
“Throughout winter, as weather gets bad, we ask that people be patient with us,” Skenandore said. “We’re certainly running as hard as we can and fully operating and doing the best we can.”