Most people don’t think much about their garbage after they toss it down the chute or into a container for pickup, but the fact is, removing a multifamily community's trash and recyclables can be a big job, especially in a private development not served by municipal or city-run sanitation services. Who picks up the refuse? How frequently it is collected? What gets recycled? These are all concerns that many multifamily residents should consider as factors in both their bottom line and in their community's core services.
Public or Private?
Imagine living in a community where the trash wasn’t hauled away for a few weeks, and you get a good sense of how important waste hauling services are to urban and suburban living. While selecting a dependable waste hauling company is vital to good co-op/condo management, that doesn't mean hiring an outside contractor can't be negotiated in the best interests of the community. And as owners of the community, residents hold the cards in negotiating with service companies who want to do business with them. But the trick is in knowing how to play those cards.
Understanding what a community expects of its waste hauling company versus what the hauler can provide are good starting points for residents to consider when delving into the waste management process. Only after evaluating the community’s needs—as well as other factors, such as budget—can residents determine which waste disposal solutions best fit them.
In New Jersey, most townships either collect their own garbage and recycling, or contract the duties to private companies. Paid for by local property taxes, such contracts tend to reach seven figures, and often span several years. Still, some communities often have other reasons to hire a private waste hauler. Even in those communities that receive their town's waste removal service, some residents opt to hire private haulers to collect garbage that quickly accumulates from move-outs, renovations, evictions and other trash-generating instances. Some townships, like Berkeley Heights have held spring cleanups for residents, which allow them to throw excess trash onto the curb for a one-day pickup. However, recent budget woes have forced townships to eliminate such additional services. And in the last ten years, many New Jersey townships that once ran their own garbage collection have resorted to private carriers in an effort to reduce taxpayer costs.
Several things differentiate public waste removal services from private waste hauling companies, including services offered and pricing. Township or county-run garbage trucks come weekly on a set schedule, with changes in the schedule dependent upon holidays. Private haulers, on the other hand, will pick up garbage from a community or multifamily building as frequently as the building’s management negotiate. That could be two or more times a week, depending upon the building’s needs.