- Officials in Mount Pleasant, MI say they're tired of being woken up by collection trucks. At a Jan. 23 meeting, city commissioners voted 4-3 to change the city's solid waste ordinance to limit collection times from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., as reported by Central Michigan Life.
- The ordinance amendment will apply to residential areas and nearby commercial areas. Haulers and businesses will be allowed to apply for exemptions based on "undue hardship or unusual circumstances."
- Local haulers, including Republic Services, opposed the change. One city commissioner who voted against it said that navigating the new rules and fielding exemption requests "is going to be a nightmare."
Multiple haulers were present at the meeting to express their concerns. At least one said that similar efforts to make this change in years past hadn't been successful. Many said that less efficient routes could lead to higher prices for customers or potentially increase safety risks by putting them in contact with more vehicles and pedestrians during daytime hours.
Complaints from residents about noise or traffic created by collection vehicles are fairly common and present an easy opportunity for local officials to appease their constituents. A similar effort to limit collection times on a statewide level was unsuccessful in Massachusetts last year. In New York, a council member recently took a different approach by introducing a bill that would allow residents to track city sanitation vehicles via GPS in order to avoid getting stuck behind them on the road.
As seen in New York's ongoing commercial waste franchise debate and other situations, any attempt to limit collection times or routes is rarely popular. The details of each scenario may differ depending on whether the clients are residential or commercial and what the contract terms are, but for the most part haulers anywhere can be expected to fight for the ability to operate their routes as they see fit.