SEBRING — Waste Connections Regional Manager Jim Wheatley said all blue trash and green recycling carts will be distributed this week.
“The rollout’s going pretty good,” Wheatley told county commissioners Tuesday. “We have less than 1,000 carts to give out. That should be done this week. Probably by Thursday. These are the ones in the original roll out, we missed them.”
About 900 95-gallon carts will be switched to 65-gallon or 35-gallon, Wheatley said. Some already have been exchanged, the rest will start on April 24.
Waste Connections has about 37,500 customers, so it distributed about 75,000 blue trash and green recycling carts.
“We’ve passed a point,” Commissioner Don Elwell said. “People can call now and receive either a 35-gallon blue or a green container?”
Correct, Wheatley verified. “We have residents that have switched out already, and they want to go back to the bigger cans. That’s going to be a problem. That’s happening so many times already.”
“For the residents,” Elwell advised, “make sure you’re picking the cans that will adjust to your heaviest use. If you need a 95-gallon can occasionally, keep the 95-gallon can.”
“If they have requested a smaller can, you will call them and tell them when to set the large one out?” Commissioner Greg Harris asked. “They don’t have to just leave it out?”
“We took everyone’s phone number,” Wheatley said. “We have residents who have gone (north). When they come back, we will replace the cans.
“Our hotline is open,” Wheatley also said.
“So you now have the county hotline, the two-way communication we’ve been asking for?” Elwell asked. “And that number is now manned until 9 p.m., which is the cutoff time for their garbage to be picked up at night. There’s a human body that will be answering that phone?”
“Our last call last night was a quarter of 9,” Wheatley said. “Their concern was just, when are they going to get their reduced can. No service issues on the phone last night. Nothing.”
“That’s it?” Elwell said. “You’re saying service issues have dropped out?”
“Substantially,” Wheatley said. “I think everybody’s hearing it. Miss Fisher says the same thing. I think we’re getting better.” June Fisher is the county administrator.
“And as far as I understand, we’re no longer missing entire neighborhoods, as was happening before,” Elwell said, “but I’m still getting a lot of concerns about individual pickups being missed. Which again, could be because of not having their cans out.” Elwell gave Wheatley as list of five citizen complaints.
Some people put out their cans after 7 a.m., then call Waste Connections and say their pickup was missed, Wheatley said.
“There is certainly some citizen error,” Elwell conceded.
“We start picking up trash at 7 a.m.,” Wheatley said, “so we like citizens to get those cans out as early as possible. If they put the cans four feet apart, and keep them away from the mail boxes, that’s a big help.”
The metal bar in front of the can should face the street. “Look at the arrow on top of the cart,” Wheatley said. “It points to the street.
“And what they’re doing too, is that they are still setting trash outside the cans,” Wheatley said. “I’m going to stop that soon. If it’s outside the cans, we’re not picking it up. I came up (U.S. Highway) 27 yesterday, and all of 27 had their cans out, but trash all around them. I swept them clean, but we just can’t do it forever.”
Extra carts can be purchased for $75, Wheatley has said.
James Bickford, who lives on Twin Lakes Road, rose from the audience to disagree. He has put out his recycling can three times, and it has never been emptied by Waste Connections. “The comment you made that everybody’s happy, I don’t know who you’re talking to, because in my neighborhood, nobody’s happy.”
Residents who haven’t received both carts or whose trash or recycling is not being picked up should call 863-655-0005.