What does an ideal residential trash collection system look like?

over 1 year ago
CLOSED: We are analyzing all of your responses now! If you have additional comments, please email sustainability@lakewood.org.


You've shared your concerns and ideas with us in-person, online, and in-print. From these comments, several key themes that we've summarized to describe Lakewood's ideal collection system, along with challenges that come with any potential change. 



Lakewood's vision for its residential trash collections system is:
  • Neighborhood-friendly: A minimal number of trucks collect neighborhood trash on only one or two days of the week. This creates a quieter, safer, and cleaner neighborhood.
  • Affordable: Lakewood residents pay similar collection fees to other communities in the region, freeing up resources for other household costs.
  • Business-friendly: Small businesses are able to compete with larger companies and continue contributing to the local economy.
  • Customizable: Residents can choose from add-on services like large-item pickup, compost pickup, and container sizes to fit their household needs
  • Transparent and accountable: Residents understand their collection fees and receive quality customer service.
  • Environmentally-friendly: Cleaner and fewer trucks improve air quality and recycling is easy.
We've also heard concerns over how changes to this system might affect:
  • Individual choice by creating citywide standards
  • Administrative burden by increasing City staff responsibilities and role of government
  • Household schedules by changing collection times and pricing structures

Do you agree? Do you have ideas on how we can balance achieving this vision with the community concerns? Tell us by using the comment tool below or visit our Ideas page!

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  • Rick A. over 1 year ago
    I am strongly opposed to there being only one trash company serving the entire city for a variety of reasons:1) First and foremost I am opposed to (for a lack of a better term) "Big Brother" getting involved in decisions regarding how I run this part of my household.2) I have heard many people (at local ward meetings) complain about the quality of the service they receive from their current or past service providers. This is of course a legitimate concern for all. Under the current system, if your service provider does not provide quality service you are free to locate and switch to another provider.If we were to change to a single provider that choice and bargaining chip would be taken away. I have heard complaints about most of the service providers currently operating in the city. If any one of them were to become the sole service provider, there would be no reasonable expectation of improved service compared to what they are providing now. In addition, if one were to become the sole service provider, there would be no incentive to maintain or improve on their level of service. They would have no concern of another company taking away a customer due to their lack of performance. Also, if there were only one provider, there are surely going to be complaints and concerns raised by citizens about the service they are receiving. It seems that it would become necessary for a whole new department within Lakewood City Government to be created to deal with these issues, increasing the size and cost of Lakewood's staffing and budget at a time when we should be reducing not expanding.Our city's employees have far more important issues to deal with (not to undermine the importance of this challenge) than to be handling complaints about trash removal or lack thereof.3) I have heard some comments about the way the trucks and their drivers operate the vehicles themselves whether it be their speed, backing in or out of streets to access addresses and other concerns. Although theses are certainly issues that need to be addressed so that safety for all is the utmost priority, these are compliance issues and not reason enough to make such a drastic change. If residents are not satisfied with how their complaints are being handled by our police, they need to be elevated to the next level on upward until their issues are resolved. Again, not reason enough to mandate such a drastic change.4) Cost- As was previously mentioned in my comments about quality of service, the cost of service is also a bargaining chip for the consumer. All residents are currently free to research the cost of services being offered by other providers. This can be used in negotiations when considering a change in provider.Citizens should keep in mind that there is currently only one location that Lakewood's trash is hauled off to out on Hwy. 93 in Golden. If you live farther away from that facility (such as in more southern or eastern locations of Lakewood, you should reasonably be expecting to pay more for your trash removal service as it is costing more for that trash company (in fuel, wages and wear and tear on equipment) to haul the trash a greater distance from where it is picked up.5) Recycling- I currently sort my recyclables and make a monthly trip to the Quail Street recycling facility. I choose to do this because it give me a sense of contributing to efforts for our sustainability.I realize that not all want to or are capable of doing this. I am told that the kinds of recycling services provided by the trash companies servicing Lakewood vary widely. This is also an area where citizens can negotiate rates for the services they desire and switch to other companies that do not provide the services they are seeking. If cost becomes an issue I have heard of neighbors who have partnered with each other to have one be the collection house of the recyclables and sharing the additional cost of that household for whatever those recycling charges are.6) Lastly, in the concern for the reduction of emissions created by additional trucks in any given neighborhood, this is also a legitimate and most important concern. Although I agree in principal with those concerns it does not outweigh my concerns in the previously mentioned areas.The city of Lakewood is woefully behind in goals set by themselves and for themselves towards reducing greenhouse gases and trash, renewable energy and many other areas that are part of the city's sustainability plan. Before we have them get involved in problems with trash removal throughout the city, I (for one) would much rather see them focus their efforts in the areas already planned and laid out in order to accomplish the sustainability goals that will help Lakewood maintain the "Quality of Life" that we all currently enjoy.
  • karenmiller49 almost 2 years ago
    As I understand it, the objective of this round table discussion is to measure the interest of Lakewood citizens in having the City of Lakewood take over trash collection. As I read it, the bulleted points above only reflect the results of surveys, community meetings, this website, etc. , as interpreted by the the City of Lakewood employees responsible for this issue. It does not reflect a trash collection proposal by the City of Lakewood. That being said, I am strongly opposed to the City of Lakewood taking over trash collection. 1-Government, even city government, should not take over an industry - ever. Government should not take over hair salons, dentist offices, or supermarkets; so it should not take over trash collection. The government cannot do anything cheaper, more efficiently, or cleaner than private industry. When you have only one choice (a required choice), you centralize the power and control in one place, in this case the city. There is no competition, there is no incentive to make anything better. The city wouldn't have to, because we won't have a choice to change trash providers - the city is it. And I am not persuaded by any promises that we would be included in contract negotiation with the successful "winner" of the trash collection contract. We would not have any influence over that.2-Further, I do not see how trash collection run by the City of Lakewood would benefit small businesses. Rather, it will drive them out of the market. The trash company that "wins" the contract will likely be a national trash company - not a small business. Has anyone reported who the company is that contracts with the City of Denver? Is it a small business or a national company?3-Even if the city does not take over trash collection, the city should not regulate the private trash companies out of existence. Excessive and onerous regulation does not lead to a dynamic, safe, or cleaner community. It drives out business and incentive to change and adapt.4 - I am also not persuaded by any claims of improved or more "recycling." Ask the city - where does your recycling go? What do you do with it? I'm expecting to be surprised. And will recycling be required? Will we be fined if we don't comply with recycling requirements?5 - I am also not persuaded by clean air claims. Clean air and exposure to traffic-generated pollutants didn't seem to be a problem as traffic continues to increase. So it seems to me, the City of Lakewood wants to point a finger of blame on only one aspect air pollution ; has the city done a study to determine if there would be a change in traffic-generated pollutants if the city took over trash collection? I would be surprised. It's just a "feel good" claim.6-neither Arvada nor Westminster went for this "city" provided trash systems. Lakewood should not either.
  • Remus_Suki almost 2 years ago
    Recently we had a rain on a Waste Management trash pickup day, and multiple green barrels floated down the street and accumulated on Union Blvd - kind of hazardous! Wind will also send trash barrels down the street, or up it. Everyone who had a company without compulsory containers had no problem because they had no container sitting out there to lose. The others had to pick from among multiples on Union, and I noticed they had serial numbers on them. I resent having to choose a typical volume of trash container in a city-compulsory system. Usually our output is small, but during leaf season or when we get ambitious to remove unwanted landscaping, it's easy to lose motivation if you're going to exceed your allowed volume and will be surcharged for it. That's how neighbors end up stuffing other people's barrels! And a neighbor may choose the lowest volume container despite their needs, just because it's cheaper and they can stuff the neighbor's barrels with their excess, essentially forcing neighbors to subsidize their choice. I love Pro Disposal and I can put out a little or a lot, but it was my choice to hire them and pay that basic fee. Give people their choice of trash haulers - I am sick of government-knows-best tying our hands left and right.
  • SAB almost 2 years ago
    I think this vision is a good step forward. By dividing the City up into 5 or 10 areas and bidding them out, we could very likely see a decrease in our cost for trash and recycling collection. By consolidating to 1 collector per area it will cut down on the number of trucks, make it more efficient and less costly to operate. Also cause less wear and tear on our streets which saves us street maintenance cost which, we all pay for. Please proceed forward making this vision a reality.
  • munser1 almost 2 years ago
    Are you kidding? Any time govt runs anything prices go up service goes down. Free market enterprise rules!! Leave the trash situation alone
  • johnclaus almost 2 years ago
    I grow tired of the supposed free-market pearl-clutchers of Lakewood bemoaning this idea. Based on our experiences, we have a handful of providers whose pricing, quality of service, and care for our communities are all subpar.Garbage collection by local government is a solved problem in several other cities. Let us please move to more pressing issues and let Lakewood take over garbage and recycling, with more citizen involvement. City council meetings and this forum are excellent means of discourse. However, sticking to facts and data, rather than anecdotes and conjecture will be the only way to make real progress.
  • Joan almost 2 years ago
    I disappointed that there is nothing here about providing an affordable and convenient way to dispose of household hazardous waste. The Rooney facility is expensive and super-inconvenient. I do support fewer trucks, limited pick-up days, and support for local haulers.
  • Alecia almost 2 years ago
    I'm a hugh believer in capitalism and free enterprise and I'm opposed to government growning any larger, even at the local level, so I'm not in favor of this idea at all.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • less government almost 2 years ago
      I agree with Alicia. Every time the Government gets involved cost go up because you can never have enough Government emploees (Empire building). Keep in mind that these are government employees (administrative types) that don't any value to garbage collection. If the city of Lakewood is so concerned about safty and pollution why dosen't the city of Lakewood reduce the amount of vehicles they have on the streets, also switch to electical vehicles to reduce pollution. It's like the pot calling the kettle black. As we use to say in the corporate world it's Empire building
    • Joan almost 2 years ago
      I'm confused by this comment as I don't see anything in the proposal that is anti-capitalism or anti-free enterprise or growing government, even. I do want to make sure that local businesses continue to serve our area, as stated in the proposal. Whenever my local trash company has been bought out by a big national company, service suffers. I think my current hauler, Pro Disposal, is the last remaining local option and I'm glad Lakewood supports local.
  • Carol Lally almost 2 years ago
    I do not like the government growing any larger, BUT if you pass this, please let the trash company bring the trash barrel up to my house. When it snows, winter or raining , I want to bring it up the the house. And, then I am disabled, too.
  • arby.one almost 2 years ago
    I agree with 'neighborhood-friendly' and 'environmentally friendly' ---so tired of so many diesel exhaust spewing trash trucks from so many different companies coming up and down the street on so many different days and SPEEDING because they have only one or two pick ups in the area. In this case, "individual choice" results in a net negative for our community and air quality and hardly seems a sufficient argument to keep doing things the way we are doing them.
  • antokhin almost 2 years ago
    I care much more about the safety of the neighborhood and how clean my air is than the principles of capitalism. At the moment, US companies are more profitable than they've ever been, let's focus on the quality of life in our neighborhoods instead of worrying about their bottom line.
  • bigmiek almost 2 years ago
    It's ridiculous that my half-can a week costs me the same disposal fee as my neighbor who puts out a mountain of cans and junk every week. And on top of my trash fees subsidizing their waste, I have to pay extra to recycle. Loveland, Colo for years had a very successful pay per volume program. Maybe they still do.
  • freshbaked almost 2 years ago
    If this is done as stated it embraces the principles of free enterprise and capitalism and will not necessarily impact the size of government. All of the same companies could participate and would benefit by being able to operate much more efficiently by servicing all of the houses in a specific area instead of a few scattered widely. They would also save marketing and management expenses. The management could consist of an independent commission formed with participating company employees and City Council members. Citizens would get better trash dates, more consistent service, lower rates, etc. This is not a new idea, but has been implemented and worked well in many other communities. We need it in Lakewood, it is a winner for everyone.