Trash Woes Consume Nuangola Council Meeting

County Waste’s buyout of Gittens Disposal’s trash collection routes has wrought havoc in Nuangola Borough.

At the June 20 meeting, Nuangola council members said their phones had been ringing off the hook with residents’ questions and complaints. Jonas Kreitzer of County Waste attended the meeting to address council’s concerns.

Among council’s complaints are:

Recycling: Nuangola had not contracted with Gittens to provide curbside recycling. The borough has its own recycling facility where residents can drop off recyclables, and the borough pays employees to staff it on Saturdays.

But County Waste distributed recycling containers along with regular trashcans and has been collecting curbside recycling from residents.

This might seem like a benefit to the borough. The borough hadn’t contracted with Gittens for recycling, so County Waste is now essentially collecting residents’ recycling for free.

But it creates a catch-22 for council in the future, councilman Mark Gandzyk said. When the trash collection contract is up for renewal, no doubt County Waste will want to be paid for collecting recyclables. If residents’ annual trash collection fee rises, some will be angry, he said. But if Nuangola decides to discontinue curbside recycling and return to using the township recycling facility, other residents will be angry over the removal of the service.

“It sets a difficult precedent” either way, he said.

Container size: County Waste uses automated collection trucks with robotic arms to dump the trashcans into the truck, so residents need to use the company’s containers. County Waste delivered containers of different sizes to different households. Kreitzer said the company was simply trying to assess each household’s need based on how much trash Gittens had been collecting from each property. But council members noted that every household in the borough pays the same fee –$155 –for trash collection, so it’s not fair that some residents get more trashcan capacity than others.

Kreitzer noted that any resident who wants a can of a different size can call the company and ask for an exchange.

Lack of notice: County Waste didn’t notify council or residents before delivering the new trashcans. This meant a flurry of phone calls from residents to council members, asking questions and lodging complaints when council had had no warning from County Waste.

Kreitzer apologized for what he called a “miscommunication” and said County Waste would round up all the recycling containers and haul them away if council decides to discontinue recycling service.

Scheduling: Councilwoman Regina Plodwick said the trash pickup schedule has been uncertain during holiday weeks. Tuesday is the borough’s usual collection day. On Memorial Day week, it was her understanding that collection would happen on Wednesday, but the trucks came through on Tuesday as usual, meaning some confused residents didn’t get their trash out in time for collection. She asked Kreitzer for a clarified schedule for holiday week pickup. He did note that the borough’s trash would be collected on Wednesday, July 5, and not on July 4 due to the holiday, and he promised to send council a schedule for future holidays.

Timing: Trash trucks sometimes come through as early as 4:30 a. m., Plodwick said, but the borough has an ordinance prohibiting noisy work before 7 a. m. Kreitzer said he