Proposed Contract Extension for Waste Connections

As we approach the end of 2023, it's time to address the renewal of the City's residential solid waste services contract, which is scheduled to expire March 2024. Following a diligent review by city staff, a proposal for contract extension has been received from our current solid waste contractor, Waste Connections. This proposed extension was reviewed and supported by the Crestwood Public Works Board at their September meeting and is on the Board of Aldermen agenda for October 24.

In recent years, various external factors such as escalating fuel prices, dump locations, dump fees, and environmental considerations have significantly impacted community solid waste programs across the St. Louis area. The average rate among 17 local municipalities stands at $28.73 per month. Municipalities that have recently renewed or signed new vendors (shown in red below) have seen significantly higher rates and indicated that it wasn’t an easy process.

Here are some highlights of the proposed contract extension
(effective March 1, 2024 if approved):

  • A 5-year contract extension, ensuring service continuity through March 2029.
  • A modest $1 increase starting March 2024, totaling $21.78 per month (today’s rate is $20.78 per month).
  • Continued small annual increases for the next four years ($22.87, $24.01, $25.21, and $26.47 per month). Even 5-years from now, the monthly rate will be lower than today's regional average rate.
  • Trash collection will transition to the automated “arm” system similar to what we’ve been using for recycling.
  • Waste Connections will provide each resident with a free 95-gallon trash cart (which is bigger than our current recycling cart). Additional carts can be rented at $8 per month. The use of other types of trash cans will no longer be supported.
  • Yard waste will see a change too. The contract states "Yard waste shall consist of what can fit into the 95-gallon yard waste cart." but also allows an additional 5 bags. Bags beyond that will be charged $5 each.
  • Seniors will continue to receive a 10% discount. Qualifying low-income and disabled residents will continue to receive a 90% discount.
  • The “valet” service will continue with house-side pickup for qualified disabled residents.

Over the past year, we have heard mixed feedback regarding Waste Connections' services. Some residents experienced frustrating service issues, while others found the service more than satisfactory. We took the concerns seriously and engaged in a constructive dialogue with Waste Connections throughout 2023 to ensure that resident concerns were addressed. Waste Connections acknowledged the issues and has made notable improvements. Crestwood city staff also proactively asked "what can we do to help improve service levels for our residents?". This contract extension is a result of that dialog.

While no waste service provider will be perfect, the city feels that the anticipated level of service from Waste Connections will be on par with, if not better than, other providers in the region.

If approved by the Board of Aldermen, Waste Connections will begin the delivery of new trash carts later in 2023, to help with a smooth transition to the new automated system before March 1, 2024.

Here is a YouTube video of this type of trash pickup service (from Dallas TX, four years ago). It may not be the exact same model as what we'll see, but you get the idea:

Although many of us appreciate the flexibility of our existing service, the realities of today’s workforce and economy necessitate a change. The automated “arm” type of collection has been in use for years across the US. It allows waste providers to complete their routes faster and provides a larger available workforce than the “get off the truck and toss in the trash” model. At the end of the day, I think Crestwood will be well served by this provider and we will continue to pay rates that are below the regional average. Subject to Board of Aldermen approval, all new service terms and rates will take effect on March 1, 2024.

Watch for more details and answers to FAQ's as this progresses