Arlington Heights discusses changing garbage pickup

  • Groot Industries employee Dan Miedema picks up garbage on South Dunton Avenue in Arlington Heights in May.

    Groot Industries employee Dan Miedema picks up garbage on South Dunton Avenue in Arlington Heights in May. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Posted9/1/2015 5:35 AM

Garbage pickup service for single-family homes in Arlington Heights might change next year, but the village board hasn't yet decided how.

During Monday's committee of the whole meeting, trustees debated staying with twice-a-week garbage pickup, moving to once-a-week collection with the option for a second pickup or switching entirely to once a week. They also discussed whether to stick with Groot Industries Inc. or go out for bid to see what other companies might make an offer.


Although no decisions were made on the frequency of garbage pickup, a 5-4 vote determined the village will solicit a request for proposal, meaning any garbage company can bid

The decision was contested because Groot worked closely with the village staff to reach low prices, which were publicized at the meeting. Some trustees said an RFP process is not fair to Groot, which may already have shown its best hand.

All of the trustees also said they are happy with the services Groot has provided, including many who know their individual garbage men.

"A vote in favor of an RFP is not a vote against Groot. If it were just my money, I would be crazy to go anywhere else. I'm satisfied with Groot, and they give me a great price," said Trustee Joe Farwell. "But it's all of our money, and it's my responsibility as an elected official to handle it wisely."

Farwell said it was also an issue of transparency because the village has not gone out for proposals on a garbage hauler in the last 15 years.

The contract between Arlington Heights and Groot runs out in March 2016.

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On the issue of frequency, most trustees said they favored either switching solely to once-a-week pickup or letting residents choose to pay extra for a second day of collection. Groot officials estimated that 30 percent of people might still want two pickups.

"This is a much bigger issue than the convenience of twice-a-week pickup. It really comes down to wear and tear on our roads," said Trustee John Scaletta, who pointed out that a full garbage truck weighs 52,000 pounds compared to a regular car that weighs 2,000 pounds.

"I think it's time for once a week," Farwell said. "I think it's time for this community to realize that the amount of sheer rubbish we create has diminished through the years with the growth of recycling. The need for twice a week has diminished."

Either way, trustees said they are sure they will keep hearing from residents throughout the next months of the process.

"You would be surprised how big of an issue garbage can be and how passionate people in this community are about it," said Trustee Jim Tinaglia.

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