Fishers surveying residents about trash collection preferences

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Houston-based Waste Management Inc. and Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. provide trash collection pickup in Fishers. (IBJ photo/Daniel Bradley)

Fishers is surveying residents to learn if they want the city to contract with a single trash-collection company or continue to let residents and homeowners’ associations choose who collects waste in their neighborhoods.

The survey created this month was posted online and sent to homeowners’ association leaders throughout Fishers to distribute to residents.

The survey asks residents who currently manages their waste removal contract, if they live in a subdivision, their current waste removal provider, the type of curbside waste program they use, their monthly rate, the day(s) of the week their waste is collected, and what they feel is the most important aspect of their waste and/or recycling service.

“We’re just trying to find what the community would like,” Fishers City Council member Brad DeReamer told IBJ.

The Fishers City Council will hold a work session in January to discuss the findings of the survey and discuss if the city should create a request for proposals to send to trash collection companies.

Mayor Scott Fadness said at a recent council meeting that city leaders are looking to educate themselves before any decisions are made.

“There’s a process we would have to go through just to explore it,” Fadness told the council and residents.

Currently, Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. and Houston-based Waste Management Inc. provide trash collection pickup in Fishers. Residents can contract directly with the companies for services. In some neighborhoods, homeowners associations contract with the providers in an effort to offer bulk rates.

Waste Management purchased Ray’s Trash Service in September 2022. Clayton-based Ray’s was the largest family-owned recycling and waste collection operation in central Indiana.

Of the four major cities in Hamilton County, only Fishers does not have a contract with a single waste-collection provider. Republic Services collects waste in Carmel and Noblesville, while Waste Management handles pickup in Westfield.

In 2013, Fishers examined entering into a contract with a single trash-collection company, but the move proved to be unpopular with residents.

City Councilor Pete Peterson told IBJ that there was lingering animosity from a recent annexation and people were concerned about “big government.”

“I had one guy yell at me because he didn’t like the color of the other person’s trash cans,” Peterson said. “It really got that granular.”

Another factor in choosing one company, he added, is that having multiple companies collecting trash and recyclables throughout the week damages the city’s roads.

“From the city’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to have one trash collector,” Peterson said. “Those things just beat the tarnation out of our roads. You get two or three different pickup dates in one subdivision, there are three extra trucks, and so it makes sense. I don’t disagree with that, but it’s pretty emotional.”

DeReamer said he has heard split opinions from residents on if they want the city to enter into a contract with a single company. His personal opinion is he does not want the city to get involved in selecting a trash collector.

“I would rather spend the time and the effort to go out and try to find other vendors that would be willing to come in to Fishers to service us,” DeReamer said. “That’s where I’d rather spend the time and the effort to bring in more competition.”

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4 thoughts on “Fishers surveying residents about trash collection preferences

  1. As a Saxony resident and former member of the board of directors, we have had a challenge with trash collection and specifically the pricing because, as Saxony is a PUD and comprised of several sub-associations, we cannot simply include trash service in the HOA dues because some sections of the neighborhood already include it in their association dues.

    Although most neighbors use Republic (now Waste Management), some use Ray’s. Those that use Republic have seen consistent rate increases, sometimes quarterly, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pricing as everyone pays different rates.

    It was frustrating as a board member and even more so as a homeowner. Two trash companies have a monopoly and can increase rates whenever they so choose.

    1. So recycling, impact on city streets, emissions, safety, and reliability aren’t factors to be considered? Perhaps not to you. But to other residents and city leaders, one or more of these factors might be just as important.

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