weather icon Clear

Herb Jaffe: New system would alter Las Vegas trash collection

There’s a lot of trash talk going on in City Hall these days, and it’s not just the kind you might expect a month after one of the most contentious elections on record. We’re talking about the garbage you put out for collection.

There’s a move afoot to change the system Republic Services uses to collect garbage throughout Las Vegas. It would replace a procedure that has been in use for decades with one that was installed in unincorporated Clark County three years ago, and more recently in Henderson and North Las Vegas.

If the Las Vegas City Council approves Republic Services’ proposal, you no longer will be putting those plastic bags of trash out on your curb twice a week. Nor will you be lugging boxes of recyclables out to the curb once every two weeks.

Instead, Republic Services will provide you with two wheeled carts — one for garbage and the other for recyclables. And instead of the current schedule for pickups, two trucks will come by just one day a week — one for garbage and the other for recyclables. Republic Services consultant Bob Coyle added that “every other week we send a ‘bulky item’ truck that takes anything that won’t fit in the carts.”

The carts would come in three sizes: 35 , 65 and 95 gallons, whichever best accommodates your needs. And the cost for this new form of service, which could eliminate numerous garbage-collector jobs? More than likely no different from what you’re now paying.

For Republic Services, a driver and a pickup person on each garbage truck adds up to four people a week handling your trash. Under the new system, there could be just the one-day-a-week driver, because the trucks would be equipped mechanically to handle the carts. So that could eliminate some jobs.

But there’s one advantage for both sides: The new system would encourage recycling, which has enormous environmental benefits. The company recently built an ultra-modern, $40 million recycling-processing center to handle the increase in recyclable materials. Of course, it then sells the recycled materials you give it and pockets the return.

However, add in this factor: The investment in new trucks, two new rolling carts for each home and a new recycling-processing plant represents good long-term business for Republic Services.

So where does this proposal sit on the city’s schedule of priorities? Several months ago City Manager Betsy Fertwell told a Sun City Summerlin audience that it’s still in the negotiating stage, and she hoped for a resolution before the end of the year. But city spokesman Jace Radke said recently that a vote might not be imminent. Radke also noted that pilot programs have been under way throughout Summerlin and elsewhere in the city to test the proposed system.

David Steinman, president of the Sun City board of directors, said he thinks “the new system is inevitable, if not in 2017 then certainly by 2018.” Steinman, who fears for elderly people being unable to push trash carts in some hilly sectors of his senior community, also noted that rules that prohibit exposed garbage canisters on the outside would have to be changed. And he questioned the potential for odor from trash carts being kept in garages for an entire week, especially during summer .

But Karl Wiedemann, another member of the Sun City board, lives in one of the test areas and has found the new system to be advantageous.

“No one that I know of in my test area is complaining. We’re satisfied with the new system, which has been in place for more than two years,” Wiedemann said.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Las Vegas author’s Howard Hughes biography adds new insight

Just as you might have imagined, the ultimate biography of Howard Hughes is an all-inclusive history of one of the more fascinating though enigmatic figures in American history.

Faith Lutheran, Nevada’s first prep hockey team, also winner

They finished their regular schedule last weekend with nine wins, six losses and two ties — quite a record for Faith Lutheran High School. The first official high school hockey team in Nevada is eager to help form a school league within the state.

Tour reveals Las Vegas Ballpark’s full splendor

If you think you have a grasp of what the $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark will offer to fans of the Aviators (formerly 51s) just because you drive by the site occasionally on your way to Downtown Summerlin, are you ever in for a surprise.

Summerlin educator’s new focus: Helping learning-disabled

No doubt you’ve heard a lot about overcrowded classrooms. It’s not just a Las Vegas problem — nor is it just a Nevada problem. It’s a universal problem. Indeed, it can become a horrific problem when a teacher is forced to deal with a classroom of 40 to 45 students.

North Las Vegas counterterrorism training school aids synagogue

Chabad Synagogue of Summerlin/Desert Shores was in the process of a major overhaul of its security system well before the anti-Semitic massacre of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27.

Ceremony offers look at Summerlin’s fast-rising ballpark

You had to see it, and you didn’t even have to hear what they were saying in order to believe it. You already knew that once construction is completed, Las Vegas Ballpark will be “the envy of the country,” as Don Logan, president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas 51s, told those who gathered for the topping-out ceremony.

Las Vegas NBA vet’s new challenge is helping at-risk children

It wasn’t until Michael Brown, a native of Newark, New Jersey, who became a resident of Las Vegas in 1997, ended his basketball days that he and wife Esther Rodriguez Brown became serious players in helping youths who have gone in the wrong direction.