Lake Tahoe district’s new trash contract mandates containerization | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe district’s new trash contract mandates containerization

Kayla Anderson
Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For years, animals and people in the Sierra Nevada have attempted to cohabitate in peace. But as Tahoe locals and tourists are generating more trash, it creates a greater propensity for wildlife to meander throughout neighborhoods foraging through waste bins.

In an attempt to rectify the problem of animals becoming more dependent on discarded food, the Incline Village General Improvement District has worked the past few years on developing solutions for how to handle solid waste.

As of last week, IVGID is moving forward with a new plan that will provide all residents with new trash and recycle carts, while incentivizing and placing heavy emphasis on residents to either own or rent wildlife-resistant containers.

RECENT HISTORY

In October 2015, IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton formed a Solid Waste Subcommittee composed of IVGID staff and trustees to discuss solutions and garner feedback from the community.

"The dialogue through a subcommittee allows for more representation from the board without having to wait for a meeting," Pinkerton said, adding that having trustees Jim Hammerel and Phil Horan in the subcommittee provided a balance of different positions and a neutral point of view.

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In January 2016, IVGID hosted a community forum to discuss refuse containerization, recycling and yard waste. After evaluating information received at the forum, the IVGID Solid Waste Committee presented proposed service changes to the IVGID Board of Trustees at a Feb. 26 public meeting.

The committee's recommendation at that meeting asked the board to discuss and adopt guidelines for waste service options to be included in a new franchise agreement with current collector Waste Management.

At the recent July 7 IVGID Board of Trustees meeting, a new 10-year contract with Waste Management was approved in a 4-0 vote.

"What was recommended was exactly what we got in the new agreement," Pinkerton said.

RATE INCREASES, BUT MORE VALUE?

Rollout for the new containerization program will happen this summer and fall, with the new agreement taking effect Oct. 1.

Monthly service rates will increase for residents, depending on one's situation (from as little as 30 cents a month to as much as $9.73), considering all homeowners will have standard 64-gallon regular waste and recycling carts delivered to their homes by Waste Management.

After a 3-month launch period, people will get an opportunity to upgrade to a 96-gallon regular waste cart or downsize to a 32-gallon cart depending on trash needs.

"We're making it more flexible for the user," Pomroy says.

The overall rate increases as part of the new contract are due to IVGID offering a more frequent recycling service, as well as cost associated with the carts, labor and more truck time.

However, since Waste Management is providing all the new containers, Pinkerton looks at it as an overall price reduction, since people aren't outright buying the carts themselves.

As Pinkerton says, "What you're spending will get you far more service, which will be a huge improvement for wildlife and people."

'WE'LL SEE A MASSIVE CHANGE'

With the new system, wildlife-resistant carts will now be an option for residents to rent from Waste Management — which some people prefer over purchasing and installing a bear shed.

That said, according to IVGID's FAQ document on the changes, after Oct. 1, if residents receive a wildlife violation (such as a bear getting into one's trash because it is not properly secured in the new Waste Management totes), it will be mandatory for their service to be upgraded to a wildlife-resistant cart service.

Pinkerton says the agreement will make it harder for trash to be an "attractive nuisance" to all animals like dogs, coyotes, chipmunks and more — not just bears.

"I think we'll see a massive change; plus, it's aesthetically better-looking to use containers," he said. "Most residents are used to this type of containerization because it's the same method used where they may live elsewhere. I think we'll see less confusion and violations."

As for commercial, while businesses in Incline contribute to about half of the solid waste that is generated here, there are no new significant changes in relation to this rollout.

"Everyone can still use the metal Dumpsters, but businesses can now rent a park-style Dumpster directly from Waste Management," Pomroy says.

What is nice about this solution is that businesses don't have to subsidize the full cost of buying a Dumpster, Pomroy said, because now they can just rent it from the provider.

Park-style Dumpsters have heavy lids that shut automatically, which reinforces wildlife resistance.

"We've worked for over a year now to reduce the problem on the commercial side; Dumpster costs didn't go up at all," Pinkerton says.

New weekly recycling service

Along with providing all residents with new 64-gallon recycling carts — and, in turn, eliminating the need for blue bags — people will not have to worry about which week recycling will be picked up.

"People didn't like buying the blue bags, and the biweekly schedule caused a lot of confusion," Pomroy said. "The cart service is easier for drivers, and it prevents other animals from getting into the trash. It also eliminates some unsightliness."

Overall, the new containerization solution is set up to stiffen the current "zero tolerance policy" in place within IVGD, in which people get cited when a trash violation on their property is reported — both in an effort to punish lazy homeowners, but also to incentivize them to purchase wildlife-resistant bins.

Pomroy said that with the old system, although people were getting cited, they didn't see violators converting to using a cart.

"We're putting people in a position to succeed by providing standardized containers," Pinkerton said.

He added that IVGID would rather shift its attitude in creating solutions to better contain solid waste and protect wildlife, rather than reactive enforcement on citing people for trash violations.

Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. Have a story idea? Email her at kaylaanderson1080@gmail.com. Bonanza Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.

New rates for residents

Here are rate changes for residents with the new agreement:

Bear Shed: $21.14 ($0.30 monthly increase from current service)

64-gallon cart (default

service): $23.01 ($2.17 increase from previous default rate)

96-gallon cart: $25.43 ($0.77 increase)

*32-gallon cart: $22.71 ($1.87 increase)

*64-gallon wildlife cart: $27.97 ($7.13 increase)

*96-gallon wildlife cart: $30.57 ($9.73 increase)

According to IVGID, the lowest rate increase is for those who have a bear shed (the brown containers commonly referred to as bear boxes) because those receptacles are the best when it comes to resisting wildlife.

“The board wanted to make sure that the people who invested in that were getting a deal, and a bear shed is the ultimate solution to the wildlife problem,” IVGID Director of Public Works Joe Pomroy said.

More online: Visit bit.ly/1SGvarI to learn more and to few FAQs about the new solid waste services.

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