The Town of Loxahatchee Groves held a public input meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 13 with a presentation on the solid waste and recycling pickup by new vendor Coastal Waste & Recycling.
Coastal is credited by town staff for picking up the ball after the town’s previous long-time provider abruptly pulled out of its contract.
“The purpose of tonight’s meeting is for Coastal to go through and present to members of the community, the media and staff the protocols of the new garbage program,” Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said.
Another public meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26 for residents who did not attend the Wednesday meeting.
Coastal Vice President John Casagrande thanked residents for attending the meeting, as well as the town for contracting with Coastal, explaining that his company has been working hard over the past few weeks to clean up the town before it begins regularly scheduled service on Monday, Dec. 2.
“I also appreciate everyone’s patience,” he said. “It has been a little bit of an undertaking — two weeks startup that we basically came in, had to get trucks, had to get people, and the maps, you all live here and its difficult to learn all the roads.”
While there have been a few mistakes along the way, Casagrande said that it is mostly under control at this point.
In October, Coastal collected more than 329 tons of vegetative matter, and 90 tons so far in November.
“As you guys have seen, we are in the town six days a week committing to the services that were in the prior agreement, picking up everything that we possibly can, getting everything under control,” Casagrande said. “Our focus is safety. We’ve been communicating with the town on a daily basis. The key has been constant communication.”
He noted that Coastal has employed a smaller garbage truck to access some of the smaller and dead-end streets in the community.
“The new trucks will be here. Some of the trucks that we have here now do not have the on-board technology that we promised, but we will have it, because it will be key for reporting those pickups,” Casagrande said, explaining that the new trucks will have GPS and on-board cameras. “We can see around the truck, in front of the truck, next to the truck, and we are able to video the actual service or piles or carts or anything else on that block as we drive.”
The GPS also records and tracks the trucks as they make their rounds.
Coastal’s regular service will begin on Dec. 2, and a flier will be distributed with the new bright green 96-gallon cans. The town has been divided into four quadrants with garbage and bulk collection, vegetation collection and recycling collection scheduled accordingly.
Casagrande said Coastal has received 85 call-ins for various reasons since Coastal began its contract. “I know 85 is a big number, but at the end of the day, based on a two-week startup notice, it’s pretty good,” he said. “We’ve recovered every lost pickup that was called in.”
The new service will be Monday through Friday, with no Saturday service.
“Our goal is not to be on the streets on Saturday when people are home from work and the kids are home from school,” Casagrande said, adding that the new carts with pickup schedules taped to the cans will be delivered starting Nov. 20 to customers, well in advance of the new pickup schedules. In the meantime, pickup will be from the old cans, according to the previous schedules.
When the new pickup schedule begins, residents can either keep their old cans or bring them to public works where there is a plan to sell them to a recycler or an auctioneer.
“They’ll stack up at public works, and if you don’t want to do any of that, and you want to leave it, you can bring it to the curb, and we will dump it and remove it,” Casagrande said.
Yard waste is to be left at the curb for pickup with a clamshell, and no containers will be provided for vegetative matter. Piles must
be six square yards or less, or they will be tagged as non-compliant. Owners of non-compliant piles may either remove the excess amount or contact Coastal for pickup of the excess at a cost of $8 per cubic yard.
Casagrande said the yellow and blue recycling containers owned by the Solid Waste Authority will remain in use. Recycling collection will be on Wednesday throughout the town, with one truck picking up the blue bins and the other picking up the yellow bins.
Coastal Marketing Director Patty Hamilton said fliers will be mailed to all Loxahatchee Groves residents with complete information about the new pickup schedule. “It will also be on the web site, and we’re going to be sending magnets that have this information in order for you to take the highest benefit of the recycling program with the county,” she said.
Hamilton advised residents to pay close attention to the list of recyclables and what can and cannot be recycled.
“This material goes into the Solid Waste Authority recycling facility,” she said. “The materials are separated. They are kept track of at the Solid Waste Authority that this material comes directly from Loxahatchee Groves. When they sell those materials, the town gets a revenue share from that, so the more the town recycles, the town gets a percentage of that sale.”