Refuse Rules Save Money

ST. MARYS — A city official says residents who are not adhering to rules regarding refuse collection are adding to his department’s costs.

St. Marys Solidwaste Supervisor Doug Metz said some residents are not following tag and size rules regarding refuse collection. Some residents try to skirt the tag requirements by placing too much garbage in bags or by using oversized containers.

“If they read the tags, all the instructions are on them,” Metz said. “The maximum bag size is 33 gallons and the maximum bag weight is 33 pounds. The maximum can size is 32 gallons and the maximum can weight is 33 pounds.”

Often times, Metz said refuse collectors run across oversized bags affixed with a tag. The bags can pose risks to employees.

“We mostly see people using oversized bags, like commercial bags that are 40 to 50 gallons,” Metz said. “What that does is allows you to fit a lot more trash into that than in a 32 gallon container. Those bags are overweight and hard for the guys to manipulate and lift.”

Oversized containers also are common. Metz said if refuse workers come across an oversized bag or container, they will place a sticker on it to notify the resident of the issue.

“Another thing we run into is people who overfill their containers,” Metz said. “It may be a regular sized can, but they’ll have another bag piled on top. That should have a separate tag on it. The rule of thumb is if its lid cannot be placed on the container, it’s overflowing.”

Skirting the rules also adds to the department’s cost. Metz said often workers must make special trips to pick up a resident’s garbage after the problems are corrected.

“It’s another trip across town while we are not in the area,” Metz said. “If they have rebagged it, we send them to get it on a special trip but it all costs money.”

Not using the correct number of tags also adds to costs.

“If everyone in the city shorted us one tag every week, that’s 3,000 customers that should have had an extra tag,” Metz said. “We are trying to keep costs in line while we’ve had price increases for disposal fees. We also have not had a price increase since 1999.”

Anyone with questions regarding the refuse regulations can contact the city utility office at 419-394-3303.