Changes in trash service for parts of Indianapolis raise questions

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 28, 2014) – Some residents are trading in their trash bags for blue bins.  It’s part of a new test program in parts of northern and southeastern Indianapolis.

Republic Services contracts with the city.  The company has been using hand collection, but now some of their routes will have automated pick-up.

"There are a lot of benefits to the automated pick-up system,” Public Works Spokesperson Scott Manning said.

“It’s a safer solution for the trash service crews when they’re not having to manually pick the bags up and put them in the truck,” he said.

19,000 households are making the change, but some have concerns about space. Instead of having a 10-bag limit, people in the pilot program must fit their trash into a 96-gallon bin.

“What do you do if you have more that accumulates—you're cleaning out a room or you’re cleaning out a garage—what do you do with the extra trash?” Northern Indianapolis Resident Beth Neidlinger asked.

Neidlinger says she likes the clean look of the bins and realizes it helps the trash employees, but she says several of her neighbors have had similar questions, especially after some of their trash was left behind on the curb.

"People who had extra bags of trash -- those were not picked up,” she said.

Officials say the goal of the pilot program is to get those questions answered.

"Part of the reason Republic is involved in the pilot program right now is to see how the system works, see how residents respond, address any questions or concerns that might pop up,” Manning said.

Manning says residents will be allowed two items of heavy trash a month. Their “heavy trash day” will now be on their scheduled pick-up day, the last full week of the month.  Those who want an additional cart have the option to purchase one from Republic Services for $65.  Manning says with time, he hopes residents will see the benefit of the blue bins.

"It provides a cleaner, more streamlined look, the carts are very sturdy, they're on wheels so they're easy to move around, we don't see as many instances of animals getting into the trash,” he said.

While thousands in the pilot program are using the bins for the first time, the program isn't new in other areas of Indianapolis. Public works says 120,000 households have been using the system through DPW since 2010.

Republic services sent a statement to FOX59 News about their pilot program:

“We are the first to recognize that a transition in solid waste collection service can be an adjustment for some residents. The City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works Districts, as well as neighboring communities like Lawrence, Carmel and Noblesville, have successfully gone through similar transitions to automated collection service in recent years. In our experience, residents find within a matter of weeks that automated collection service is cleaner, safer and more cost-effective.

We want to thank residents who are going through this transition for their patience and cooperation. We will continue to work closely with the City of Indianapolis to assist residents in the northern and southeastern portions of the City during this transition, and we encourage anyone with questions about the transition in service to call: (317) 917-7300 or visit indywaste.com."