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Springfield evaluates trash collection and recycling

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With minimal treatment at a yard waste center, a combination of lawn clippings and fall leaves quickly becomes compost.

With minimal treatment at a yard waste center, a combination of lawn clippings and fall leaves quickly becomes compost.

The City of Springfield will study the efficiency of trash and recycling collection services within the city limits. The Department of Environmental Services has selected Burns and McDonnell as a consultant firm to conduct the study and help develop recommendations for improvements.

Trash collection in Springfield is currently performed by 12-15 private trash hauling companies under an open-market system. The city does not provide trash collection services.

Following interest from the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) as well as direction from city council to investigate trash collection issues such as noise, safety, congestion and wear-and-tear on streets, city staff analyzed the current collection system and compared it to other programs in benchmark cities throughout the country.

To gain assistance in studying the current system on a more detailed level and to gain input from a larger group of stakeholders, the city issued a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) in April 2016 for a consultant with experience in municipal solid waste collections systems. The final selection process has resulted in an agreement with Burns and McDonnell.

Burns and McDonnell will work with city staff to provide professional engineering and consulting services in the area of solid waste management to identify potential options for improving the efficiency and long-term viability of trash collection services within the City’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System (SWMS).

Goals of the Study
Burns and McDonnell will evaluate the options to help the City better understand how best to accomplish the following objectives:

• More efficient trash and recycling collection – Organize collection services to improve efficiencies to reduce vehicular traffic.
• Enhanced community programs and services – Support neighborhood clean-ups, improved recycling programs, enhanced education, and better access to services throughout community.
• Consistent services and rates – Provide uniform services and rates throughout the community. Expand services such as curbside recycling, bulky item pickup, and yard waste collection.
• Community benefits – Reduce noise, traffic flow and wear-and-tear on infrastructure. Create safer and cleaner streets and neighborhoods.
• Environmental benefits – Reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Lower demand for natural resources and landfill space through increased diversion rates.
• Protect existing haulers – Recognize the existing service providers operating in the City and seek their input and protect their interests where possible.
• Ensure stability for current SWMS programming – Provide consistent funding to continue existing services and programs that benefit the community.

Study Process
The trash and recycling collection study will include analysis of the current collection system, identification and analysis of alternatives, and recommendations for a preferred alternative system. Outreach will be conducted in three phases:

• Phase 1: Outreach to Trash and Recycling Community
Burns and McDonnell will collect data and conduct informational interviews with licensed haulers and materials processors beginning in mid-October.

• Phase 2: Outreach to General Public
A random phone survey will be conducted to gauge public opinion of the existing trash and recycling services. In addition, the City of Springfield will host informational open house sessions to educate citizens about the study and collect feedback.

• Phase 3: Coordination with City Council and Community Organizations
Burns and McDonnell and the Department of Environmental Services will communicate with City Council and various community stakeholder organizations throughout the study process. Final findings and recommendations will be presented upon completion of the study.

About Springfield’s Solid Waste Management System
In 1991, voters approved the current Integrated Solid Waste Management System, which requires all licensed trash haulers to offer the convenience of curbside recycling services to their customers.

The system also includes the heavily utilized city-operated Recycling Centers, Yard Waste Recycling Center, Household Chemical Collection Center (for household hazardous waste), Springfield Sanitary Landfill, a Public Education and Information Program, and a Market Development Program. All services and programs combined are designed to properly manage the community’s trash or solid waste.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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