The Rockport City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13, heard a presentation by Republic Services Municipal Sales Manager Kristian Santos regarding his company’s service to Rockport customers.
He acknowledged recent issues with Republic’s garbage collection, which was due in part to trucks “packing out” before a particular route is finished. There was not enough time in the day to dump the garbage in Robstown and return. Drivers are limited to a maximum number of hours they can drive per day.
In July, residents in the recently annexed areas of the city started receiving trash and recycling services through Republic (the city’s supplier) on Wednesdays.
Additionally, residents in the Whistlers Cove and Wandering Oaks subdivisions were assigned new pickup dates. Whistlers Cove moved from Tuesday to Friday. Wandering Oaks from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Santos noted communication between Republic and city staff has been key to addressing issues before they occur.
In addition to changing routes, he noted Republic has hired more drivers and bought new trucks.
“We’re investing a lot of money,” said Santos. “There is a lot of growth coming (to the Coastal Bend area).”
He also noted the cost of recycling has increased dramatically due primarily to China no longer buying the bulk of recycled products.
Santos said contamination of recycled items is also a big problem.
“We need to get more information out to the customer (regarding how and what to recycle),” he said.
Other things contributing to spiraling cost increases are cheap crude oil prices (making plastic cheaper to produce). Plastic water bottles are significantly thinner, which means many more bottles are required to make a pound of recycled plastic.
Santos said 90 percent of U.S. residents want to recycle and are willing to pay for it.
“Customers need to sort smarter and empty and clean containers,” he said. “We also need to share this knowledge.”
One can visit www.republicservices.com/recycling-reimagined to learn more about recycling, and what is needed in the future.
Santos suggested placing stickers on recycling bins outlining what can and can’t be recycled, and how best to prepare containers for proper recycling.
Some rules of thumb he shared include:
• If it’s smaller than a credit card it’s not recyclable
• No glass
• If one can stick his or her finger through plastic then it’s probably not recyclable.
Councilman Mike Saski asked Santos what is Republic’s biggest issue when it comes to recycling.
Santos said outside of the China issue, it’s contamination of products placed in recycling bins.
He also noted educating children in local schools has a big impact because children will take interest in in recycling and encourage their parents to recycle.
(Note: Maps and calendars for Republic’s routes are available on the city’s web site. For more information, contact Utility Customer Service at 729-2213, ext. 234.)