City to transition to trash & recycling tote system next year

(Photo Source: Unsplash).

Cortland council member Bill Carpenter (D-6th Ward) announced at Tuesday’s meeting that the city will transition to a tote system for trash and recycling starting Jan. 1 of next year,

Carpenter, a member of the city’s trash and recycling ad hoc advisory committee, said this decision will officially dismiss the close to 40-year reign of the blue bag system in Cortland at the end of this year. The city’s current contract with Bert Adams disposal includes a large (or small) blue bag pickup, and a glass-only pickup during the first week of each month.

“The system doesn’t work anymore,” Carpenter said of the blue bag system. The current cost is $5 for 36-gallon bags, and $3.25 for 18-gallon bags. “I think the public is going to be happy (with the tote system). There will be no more aggravation.”

Carpenter noted the committee will soon send out a request-for-proposal to garbage and trash companies to collect bids for a new contract at the beginning of next year. He added the goal is to provide a garbage tote and recycling tote for each household. If needed, Carpenter added, a $150 charge will be issued for residents who request an extra tote.

More importantly, Carpenter said, city residents will soon not be obligated to buy blue bags at the store.

“That’s why we pay taxes,” Carpenter added, noting the new contract will be implemented through the city’s taxes.

Details on how the new contract will be implemented into the city’s taxes remains to be seen.

City council member Seth Thompson (D-5th Ward) mentioned that the committee’s decision to move to a tote system was mainly due to the “robust response” through the survey about the city’s garbage and recycling collection.

“What I thought was significant was that about 90% responding (to the survey) were current blue bag users,” Thompson said, noting it wasn’t just residents who use another service or take their trash elsewhere. “It was noted that the current service and price was out of alignment.”

Thompson said the upcoming switch to a tote system in the city will be an opportunity “to look at change and a positive difference.”