Hilton Head Island residents reeling from sticker shock can breathe easier as more trash haulers plan to serve the island, at lower prices.
Anchor Waste Services, i2recycle, Property Preservation Inc. and American Pride Waste Solutions said Monday they will provide residential service to the island. They join two other waste haulers and Republic, which will no longer be the town's sole residential waste hauler after March 31.
Some residents were dismayed earlier this month when they were told prices for waste and recycling collection could nearly triple come April 1.
Higher rates are almost certainly on the way. Current Republic customers pay $55 per quarter for weekly pickup and $64 for twice-a-week garbage and once-a-week recycling collection. But with new entrants into the market, many could see rates closer to what they were paying before the town's franchise agreement with Republic began in 2011.
Hilton Head Plantation and Sea Pines property owners associations have received quotes ranging from $73.50 to $155 for weekly pickup and $88.50 to $207 for twice-a-week service.
Before the franchise, Hilton Head Plantation residents paid about $85 a quarter with Waste Pro, plantation general manager Peter Kristian said.
"I'm feeling a little bit better, now that there's more competition and lower rates available; however, I always reserve judgment until I see the service delivered," Kristian said.
Haulers have said gated communities can use their large populations to negotiate contracts at better rates than individuals shopping on their own.
Hilton Head Plantation and Sea Pines investigated such arrangements, but discounts for preferred status were modest, according to representatives of the POA boards.
A Sea Pines panel that solicited quotes from providers concluded it could not assure residents of a single hauler or preferred provider's performance, given the large number of homes needing new service and a lack of familiarity with some haulers.
Two of the companies -- American Pride and i2recycle -- are relatively new but have extensive management experience, panel co-chairman Charles Miner said.
"All four bidders provided plausible responses as to their experience and willingness to provide acceptable service," Miner said. "But since the entire island is affected, service may be problematic."Sea Pines has provided homeowners a list of haulers and cost information to make a decision. Kristian said Hilton Head Plantation will do the same.
Island residents must find new trash haulers beginning in April or haul garbage and recyclables on their own to a county-owned convenience center.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.