Des Plaines aldermen want to investigate garbage-can complaints

  • A detached wheel sits next to a garbage can on the 200 block of Pinehurst Drive in Des Plaines. Complaints about lost wheels and blown-over cans have been plentiful since Des Plaines changed garbage removal contractors.

    A detached wheel sits next to a garbage can on the 200 block of Pinehurst Drive in Des Plaines. Complaints about lost wheels and blown-over cans have been plentiful since Des Plaines changed garbage removal contractors. Courtesy of Mike Spade

 
 
Posted4/6/2021 5:27 AM

Following citizen complaints and news reports about the quality of Des Plaines' new rolling garbage cans, city officials on Monday said they want to investigate the problems.

"The complete truth is, the garbage cans we have now are not as good as the ones we used to have," 6th Ward Alderman Malcolm Chester told the city council during its scheduled virtual meeting. "Maybe we need to take a longer look at this."

 

The blue cans arrived in February as Morton Grove-based Lakeshore Recycling Systems prepared to take over as the city's garbage contractor. Some 33,000 cans for garbage and recyclable materials were delivered to about 16,500 customers.

The council inked a seven-year deal with Lakeshore in December. Lakeshore replaced Republic Services effective March 1.

Since then, some homeowners have said their cans' hinged lids blow open when it's windy, allowing trash to scatter and scavenging animals to get inside. Others have complained about cans toppling over or being blown into the street.

Detached wheels have been a problem for some customers, too.

City and Lakeshore officials have noted the new cans -- manufactured by North Carolina-based Toter -- arrived during a particularly windy month. But they also acknowledged the cans are made differently than some others, using less plastic and metal so they're easier to move and more difficult to break.

The Daily Herald wrote about the complaints and the manufacturing changes last week. Other media outlets also have covered the issue.

Eighth Ward Alderman Andrew Goczkowski joined Chester in addressing the matter Monday, saying he wants to speak with Lakeshore about how the issues can be resolved.

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Fifth Ward Alderman Carla Brookman said she expects the council will discuss the matter at a future meeting.

In an email to city officials, Lakeshore managing partner Josh Connell said the firm has never experienced a backlash like this in the other communities it serves.

Connell subsequently told the Daily Herald he's not sure what the aldermen want Lakeshore to do.

"But we will certainly listen and provide ... insight and information regarding the new waste and recycling carts," Connell said. "LRS will have to provide excellent service and win the hearts and minds of Des Plaines residents over time."

The names of all three aldermen who addressed the issue are on Election Day ballots. Brookman is running for reelection in her ward against challenger Jennifer Nutley, while Goczkowski and Chester are running for mayor against former Alderman Mike Charewicz.

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