Jun 14, 2022 - News

St. Paul calls on trash collectors to fix "unacceptable" service issues

Illustration of a pattern of trash cans.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The city of St. Paul is calling on local garbage haulers to clean up their act amid complaints of missed pick ups by one of their providers.

The big problem: The city claims that waste management company WM has "failed to timely collect trash and yard waste" from thousands of residents since November 2021, "causing unsanitary and unacceptable conditions."

What's new: The letter, sent Friday, demands that the consortium abides by the terms of their agreement and commits to providing back-up service for affected households.

  • It also raises concerns about insufficient customer service in response to the service disruptions.

Zoom in: Mayor Melvin Carter told Axios that the city received 2,800 reports of missed service in the first 10 days of June alone.

  • Some customers say they have gone weeks without a pick up by WM, which provides service across multiple neighborhoods.

What they're saying: "This is a matter of basic life, health, safety, cleanliness for our city," said Carter, who wants the collector to issue rebates or refunds to ratepayers who were left holding the (trash) bag. "Missing, hauling services is just unacceptable."

The other side: WM said in a statement to Axios that the driver shortage across the trucking industry has become "greater than we ever anticipated and has affected our ability to provide service to our customers."

  • "We agree that the residents of St. Paul deserve better service and are currently working with other members of the hauler Consortium to resolve service issues as quickly as possible," the statement adds.
  • A lawyer for the haulers' consortium has not provided a comment in response to a request from Axios.

What's next: Carter told Axios that the consortium confirmed it's working on a plan for back-up service ahead of an upcoming meeting with city officials.

  • He said the city is exploring its options for additional action if the issue isn't resolved.
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