Highland residents have mixed opinions of new ‘containerized’ trash service

Residents are buzzing about the changes coming to Highland’s trash service.

Under the contract with Republic Services, Highland is moving to containerized service. This means that all trash must be placed inside the large Republic “carts” in order to be collected. All residents will be provided two 95-gallon blue carts: one with a black lid for regular trash, and one with a light blue lid for recyclable materials.

The large carts can be picked up by automated systems, which is the main reason for the change.

“When you go containerized, it’s a little faster, so they might be able to cover the entire residential service with four days rather than five,” said City Manager Chris Conrad. “We are going through the review process on the routes right now.”

Some residents have posted on social media that they are unhappy with the changes, but others have said they wondered why Highland isn’t on containerized service yet.

“It’s definitely going to be a change in how we do business,” Conrad said.

However, he said, just about every other community in the region has gone to this kind of process.

“We’re just a little later to the game for containerized service,” he said.

Frequently asked questions were released by city leaders last week. Among the new rules are:

  • Trash will be collected once a week as usual. Yard waste also will continue to be once a week with a limit of eight containers a week, but recycling will only be collected every other week.

  • Each cart holds approximately six 13-gallon trash bags. Households who generate more trash than can fit in the 95-gallon carts may decide to lease an additional cart by contacting Republic Services. They will have to pay a $15 delivery fee and $5 a month extra for the additional service.

  • Bulk item collection is now on demand, with four bulk pickups a year. These must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Bulk pickups after those four will cost $50 each.

  • Bills will still come to each household from the city of Highland. Seniors aged 65 and older qualify for a 10% discount.

  • Recycling should consist of cardboard, paper, metal, plastic bottles, cartons and glass. Material must be empty, clean and dry, and should be placed loose inside the recycling cart.

  • Residents are asked to place the carts by the curb by 6 a.m. and at least 5 feet away from other objects such as cars, trees, poles and fire hydrants. The carts also should be 5 feet away from each other, with nothing leaning against them, lids closed and no power lines overhead.

  • Some residents who have placed their cans in an alley may need to place their carts at the curb. Republic Services will determine who remains an alley customer and who must move to a curbside customer. More information will be communicated as that is determined.

  • Tentatively the carts will be distributed to residents in March 2024. Residents will be notified about delivery of the new carts; until then, residents should keep using their personal trash cans. After the new carts are delivered, personal trash cans will not be collected.

“We may have a period of time where the cans have been dispersed but the trucks may not quite be ready, so we may still be doing rear-load until the trucks come in,” Conrad said.

The list stated that anyone with questions should contact the city of Highland at 618-654-9891 and press option 3, or visit Highlandil.gov.