- St. Paul, MN is considering a coordinated collection system, rather than its current open-market approach. At a recent hearing, residents and business owners had a wide range of opinions on what this would mean for the city.
- Many residents say a system in which certain haulers collect in certain neighborhoods would help reduce truck traffic. City officials say it could also help cut back on illegal dumping, which St. Paul currently spends $250,000 to clean up every year.
- Some of the city's 14 licensed collection companies are skeptical. Under state law, the companies would have 60 days to organize a system amongst themselves if the city does adopt a coordinated system. If they can't do that, the city could then open the system up for bids.
Waste reduction has been a big topic in Minnesota lately, with shifting statistics on landfill diversion and some counties undertaking characterization studies to better understand what isn't being recycled. The collection debate is part of a larger conversation St. Paul is having about waste reduction that also includes new plans for recycling and organics collection.
The City Council set aside money for a survey to evaluate the state of waste in St. Paul, though at least one local hauler questioned its statistical validity at the hearing on Wednesday. City officials said the study wasn't meant to focus on statistics and instead was a tool to gather feedback from the community. While thousands of people have replied in favor of the changes, some residents say they want to preserve the freedom to choose their collection companies.
Other cities in the state, such as Bloomington and Maplewood, have already moved to an organized collection system. In Minneapolis, city employees collect trash from half of the city and a consortium of haulers is contracted to collect the other half. A group of local, independent haulers has already been meeting in St. Paul to discuss a potential co-op system ahead of the city's decision.