Your 95-gallon garbage and recycling bins will no longer be usable come January.
But despite changing companies and carts, the city’s service won’t change drastically.
With the expiration of the city’s most recent five-year contract with Waste Management, it was clear months ago the Houston-based company’s bid wouldn’t be competitive. After some debate and clarifications with the three bidders over the summer, the Public Works committee recommended Madison-based Pellitteri Waste Systems in August, and on Monday, Oct. 11, the Common Council unanimously agreed.
Public works director Theran Jacobson summed up the staff and committee preferences by noting Pellitteri has worked with communities of similar size, knows the area, can provide services spread over four days and can keep the scope of existing services intact. He also appreciated the company’s attention to detail in both its 40-page submittal and subsequent responses, which neither Waste Management nor Badgerland Disposal matched in their competing bids.
Alders Phil Hoechst (Dist. 3) and Rye Kimmett (D-2), both local business owners, said they used Pellitteri’s services and appreciated the customer service, with Hoechst noting he’d switched from another vendor years ago and found Pellitteri a substantial improvement.
The new contract has an option to extend it to 10 years under the rate schedule indicated within 18 months of starting the new deal.
“If we like what we’re seeing service-wise and have the interest in extending that … that is an option,” Jacobson said.
The green bins most residents have now are property of Waste Management. Exactly when and how the carts will be switched and what days collections will change to remains to be determined, Jacobson told the Press, but he expected that information to be available in the next few weeks.
On Monday, he told alders the new carts would arrive in mid-December. Those will come with information on the collection, including exactly what sort of items are acceptable for recycling, and new collection calendars. It will also explain how the old bins will be collected, he said.
Prior to that, Jacobson said, residents can opt to get smaller bins, at 65 gallons.
Company representative Joe Spair told alders the company would be happy to participate in the city’s new sustainability committee, as that’s a “hot-button” issue for the company. That is also reflected in the company’s submission, which claims to put extra emphasis on increasing the amount of items that can be recycled.
“Managing our own processes also enables us to accept items you would not be able to recycle elsewhere such as milk cartons, properly prepared shredded paper, and pots & pans,” it states, adding, “we have never sent glass to a landfill, something that is disappointingly common in our industry.”
Eliminated in 2011
A decade ago, when Verona first switched to every-other-week automated recycling -- with the 95-gallon carts lifted by machines, rather than people -- Pellitteri was among the bidders, but did not offer unlimited garbage collection and was quickly eliminated.
A previous switch to limited garbage collection in the 1990s didn’t go well, with people sending overflow garbage to unacceptable places, and the city did not give serious consideration to that contract. But limits imposed five years ago, coming with 95-gallon garbage bins, went essentially unnoticed.
Town of Verona residents Tom and Michele Pellitteri co-founded the company while living in the City of Verona in 1979, and the company has served the Town of Verona since 2008. The Village of Oregon went with Pellitteri in 2011, and the company proudly proclaims in its submission that of its 29 contracts, it has a 100% renewal rate.
Sorting through the bids
Public Works reviewed bids from the three companies over the summer, and Pellitteri’s bid saves roughly $1 per stop, or about 9% of the current bill, in 2022, but will increase by another $2 per stop by 2026.
However, Waste Management's bid would have started at a $3-per-stop increase over the current rate and go up yearly according to the consumer price index.
Badgerland bid lower per stop than Pellitteri, but fell short on some of the committee's preferences, including local presence, experience with comparable communities, the use of compressed natural gas in its vehicles and positive testimonials and reference checks from other clients. The Pellitteri submission also provided extensive examples of its public communications, including examples of what can and cannot go in garbage and recycling bins and what happens to contaminants in the recycling stream.
The company’s submittal also included letters of recommendation from the cities of Fitchburg and Middleton, the villages of Oregon and Belleville and the Town of New Glarus.