Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles officials hope that by working together they can get a good price for residents' garbage pickups.
One option might be a flat rate toter program, they said.
"It is definitely a growing trend within the industry," Geneva Public Works Director Richard Babica told Geneva aldermen Monday night.
The three towns use a sticker program. Residents can use their own 32-gallon cans and affix a $3.40 sticker for each pickup. Residents can also rent large toters for a monthly fee. About 40 percent of households in Batavia and Geneva do, according to Babica.
Waste companies prefer the toters because they can use mechanical arms on the trucks to empty them, rather than having a person get out of the truck to empty cans. Sticker programs encourage people to recycle items, as they are not charged individually for recycling.
"Last time we bid out stickers and asked about toters for our knowledge. This time it will be 'Give us a toter program and give us a price on stickers,' " Gary Holm, Batavia's public works director, told aldermen Tuesday.
Since each towns' wants in a garbage contract are similar, it makes sense to prepare just one set of bid criteria, Holm said. He said there may be "economies of scale" if a company can handle all three towns.
Five years ago, Batavia and Geneva did this, and both towns chose the bid by Advanced Disposal. Each town has a separate contract.
All three have contracts expiring June 30.
Geneva aldermen said they will consider a toter program, but are inclined to stick with stickers.
City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said a preliminary estimate shows a monthly bill for a toter program would be about $12.63 per household.
Aldermen Robert Swanson noted many seniors and empty-nesters put out a can of garbage every other week, or less.
"I can see our community saying this is the quintessential unfunded mandate," Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said.
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said there may be pushback from residents on going to toters, especially from seniors. He said he has heard from some that they have trouble pushing their 65-gallon recycling toters to the curb. Holm said a contract would include a provision for garage-side pickup for people who can't physically manage toters. There would also be three sizes of toters, he said.
Batavia's contract would also require the disposal company to dump Batavia garbage at the city's Waste Management transfer station. The city collects about $550,000 a year in tipping fees from that.