GARY | A 700-person waiting list for garbage cans in Gary will be history on Monday as the city's new trash hauler rolls out a new cart for every home.
Although the new contract with Waste Management of Indiana LLC, like the previous one with Allied Waste, does not require the garbage hauler to replace broken garbage cans, the new cans are much more durable, said Daniel Vicari, Gary Sanitary District executive director.
"The event of one getting damaged in this day and age is pretty remote," Vicari said. "You pretty much have to run it over with a truck."
Gary's 700-can backlog was due to the flimsy, city-owned cans breaking; Allied Waste not required to replace them and cash-strapped Gary was unable to. The new contract provides a new 95-gallon green cart for each of Gary's approximately 20,000 homes. If a homeowner damages it, the homeowner must pay $50 to replace it.
Although the earlier wait list was for 800 people, Vicari said that's because they whittled down the list and found many duplicates. Apparently, some people who called to complain they had no trash can were put on the same wait list multiple times.
The carts have a 10-year manufacturer warranty, said Lisa Disbrow of Waste Management.
All the garbage cans currently at Gary homes will be replaced. The city will get 15 cents a pound for ones that can be recycled, Vicari said.
Vicari said the cans that broke and left the city with the massive can backlog were made of a "flimsier, more brittle plastic" that can't be recycled. They'll be put to use elsewhere in city services, he said.
"I think that's probably what the city could afford at the time," Vicari said.
Waste Management also is introducing a fleet of six new garbage trucks to haul off homeowners' trash.
“Gary residents deserve the best customer service, new trash cans and first-rate equipment,” Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said in a press release. “We are counting on Waste Management to elevate the trash collection experience in the city of Gary.”
The contract, approved last month, also dropped the trash collection fee to $14.40 per household from $15.90. There is a 10-cent administrative fee added to both, making the cost to homeowners $14.50 and $16.
"It's similar terms and conditions. We just have a better price on this one," Vicari said.
The contract with Allied Waste originally had a $12 fee per household, $7 for senior households. Citing costs, the Gary Sanitary District upped those fees to $16 in 2011 in a move that angered many residents.