Crestwood kicks trash company Meridian to the curb; recycling is single stream

By Erin Achenbach
Staff Reporter
eachenbach@callnewspapers.com

Crestwood is kicking its current trash provider to the curb.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a contract with Waste Connections of Missouri Inc. at a Dec. 11 meeting, marking the beginning of the end of the tumultuous relationship the city has had with current trash company Meridian Waste Services.

The city’s contract with Meridian runs through March 31. The contract with Waste Connections will go into effect April 1.

Over the past several months, Crestwood residents and aldermen alike have complained about their poor trash service with Meridian, from late pickups to trash not being collected at all. The issue came to a head at a September meeting when multiple aldermen expressed their desire to immediately seek out a contract with a new trash service provider.

The residential waste pickup schedule will remain the same and recycling services will remain single-stream curb-side, City Administrator Kris Simpson said.

The bill passed unanimously.

At the Oct. 23 meeting, the board instructed Simpson to begin reviewing bids from waste management companies after aldermen agreed to ride out the remainder of their contract with Meridian. Five companies expressed interest in contracting with Crestwood, including Republic, Waste Management and Meridian.

Multiple categories were considered when evaluating bids, such as monthly fees, bulk item fees, discounted fees, cart rentals, recycling programs, field service and customer service, said Public Works Director Jim Gillam. These categories were discussed, ranked and weighted to determine a score, which was then totaled to find the most responsive bid for the bid request.

Waste Connections received the highest ranking.

“If Waste Connections or any of the other top three ranked contractors are selected, there will be very little change from the current level of service that is provided,” said Gillam in his report to the board. “The pickup schedule will remain the same and the recycling will be single stream. There will be an educational program for the new contractor and the requirements for the recycling program.”

Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan expressed doubts about Waste Connections’ recycling practices, due to the company’s practice of transporting its recyclables to a facility out of state.

“Waste Connections looks to ship single-stream processing results to a center in Hutchinson, Kansas, which to me seems counterproductive if we’re recycling and then using all that fossil fuel to take all that recycling to Kansas,” said Duncan.

“There were two processing centers in the St. Louis area up until Nov. 1 and one of them closed… Over the last four months we’ve been diligently looking at strategies,” said Linda Jones, municipal account manager for Waste Connections, noting that the Hutchinson processing plant belongs to the company.

Jones further explained that once recyclables had been taken to the center and sorted, they are shipped out to end-users across the region, one example being recycled glass sent to a shingles manufacturer.

Other waste management companies, such as Republic, have their own processing centers in St. Louis but still ship sorted recyclables across the country.

“My biggest concern is using the fuel to get to Kansas, but I guess it’s just a reality that once it gets to the center where it’s going to be distributed, everybody expends energy to get it to other places,” said Duncan.

The monthly household fee with Meridian is $18.83. Under the contract with Waste Connections, the monthly household fee would rise to $19, a 17-cent increase. However, Meridian requested a $19.73 monthly household fee in the first year.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct increase in the trash rate.