Beaufort officials, Waste Pro report a smooth transition to new trash system

August 8, 2009 

Waste Pro began collecting Beaufort residents' trash, recycling and yard debris Monday, and company and city officials say, overall, the transition has been smooth.

City Council member Mike Sutton said he received one complaint from a resident upset that his trash, recycling and yard debris pickups fall on three different days instead of one as it was when the city provided residential collection.

"I understand that can be tough in some cases," Sutton said. "Right now I think it's a non-issue when you look at the bigger picture, but it's probably an issue for some families trying to figure out how to deal with the new schedule."

Waste Pro based the schedules on how many homes its recycling and garbage trucks could reach in one day.

Some days, those schedules are lighter than others. Depending on the workload, Wastepro uses either four or five workers per day, said Art Smith, regional vice president for Waste Pro of South Carolina.

That's a couple of employees fewer than the city had, which means for some customers, not everything can be collected on the same day, he said.

The company bought a new recycling truck and a new rear-loading trash truck, each costing more than $150,000, to help meet the city's needs, Smith said.

From Monday to Wednesday, the company received about 11 comments through a system that documents every interaction with a customer. Customers can access the system by phone or online. City officials also can check on Waste Pro's performance through the system, Sutton said.

The strongest comment came from one customer upset over the schedule change. Smith said the few complaints indicated the transition was going smoothly.

"When you do a transition you have all eyes on you," he said. "A few people are still getting acclimated, but overall it's been very good."

Customer Jason Cope, who lives on Waight Street,said he didn't mind the schedule change and shift of his recycling and trash pickup to two different days.

"I haven't really noticed much of a difference," Cope said.

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