‘Frustrated’: Waste Management warning letters sent to wrong house
Waste Management will hold off on enforcing penalties for some of its new trash, yard waste and recycling rules set to start next week.
The company announced in February it would soon be cracking down on overfilled bins and prohibited items following a two-month warning period.
Since then, people began receiving warning letters with photos of their offending bins taken from Waste Management Smart Trucks. But some have complained the company has the wrong customer.
Mike Williams said he received a warning about an overfilled cart this week, only to find a photo of a slightly ajar trash can in front of his neighbor’s house.
“I’m pretty careful about what I put in my trash can and try to follow the rules,” Williams said. “I was just really frustrated.”
After a few complaint calls he described as “combative,” his warning was eventually rescinded. A $10.32 charge for overfilling is possible starting next week after someone receives two warnings.
According to Waste Management spokesperson Paul Rosynsky, the company tried to plan for bins placed close together, in what are called community stops, but recognized the new program is still evolving.
“We knew that initially, those could cause issues in terms of identifying the cart to the customer,” Rosynsky said. “There’s a host of other factors that we use to match a cart with an address. Parcel maps, GPS, it’s all kind of a combination of things.”
Rosynsky said as the process is refined the company is looking into a system for more accurately labeling carts. Customers that feel they are wrongly given a warning are given a number to call to dispute the warning, he said.
“Customers should rest assured that if we have the wrong cart, they’re not going to get charged,” he said. “If they get a warning letter or charge, they should call us and we’d be happy to look at that.”
He confirmed writing addresses on the bins is also a viable solution.
According to Rosynsky, the company will hold off its contamination charges until June, which were also set to start next week.
“In terms of contamination, we’re just going to continue to work with customers for the next couple of months,” he said.
In June, after three warnings for contamination, customers may have their recycling or yard waste carts removed, which includes a $25.79 fee.
Rosynsky said the change was made after seeing initial improvements by working with customers and will allow them to focus on repeat offenders.
Since averaging close to 100 contamination and overage incidents each per day at the start of the program, both incidents have dropped to about 30 per day.
“Customers have taken notice and that is appreciated,” Rosynsky said. “We’re all becoming better recyclers and helping to keep the county clean by reducing potential litter from overfilled carts.”
Williams said he doesn’t mind the program’s initial hiccups as much as the accusatory tone he received when disputing his warning.
“It’s a learning process for everybody,” he said. “I just feel like I was guilty when I was just trying to explain myself.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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