- The city of San Angelo, TX has posted a two-question survey on its website to identify residents’ preference in bulk pickup and recycling services, two issues that the city and provider Republic Services say they hear about often.
- The questions ask residents whether they would prefer monthly bulk trash pickup and whether they can fill their recycling bins each week. Respondents are then asked to choose between the current trash service or one alternative. The options are: continue weekly curbside recycling and regular trash pickup, along with a quarterly bulk pickup, or stay with the weekly trash pickup, but drop recycling back to alternate weeks and bump up bulk collections to a monthly service.
- If residents opt for monthly bulk collections, they would be assigned a given day of the week and given week of the month. Haulers would collect yard waste, appliances, and furniture among other items for the same rate as exists now. For recycling, residents would be able to obtain a second recycling cart at no charge.
Many municipalities have discovered that designing programs around consumers’ preferences is a key to success. Sometimes trying to figure out what will work is a matter of trial and error, so local governments run pilots, tally results, and decide where to go from there.
The San Angelo survey has come on line weeks after residents assumed a 50 cent charge for trash pickup — a penalty to try and encourage them to recycle more, as the city is not meeting its 500-ton per month goal. The "recycling penalty" was imposed around the time that the city began considering reducing recycling pickups to alternate weeks. Now, San Angelo is trying another plan: simply asking residents directly how the city can best accommodate them to help reach its goal, which falls short by 150 tons.
Shane Kelton, San Angelo’s director of city operations, said the survey will serve as a tool to develop a service that meets the community’s unique needs. The tallied results will be presented to the City Council toward the end of March.