Recycling stock

Advocate file photo

The Slidell City Council had a very short regular agenda at its meeting on May 14, but the consent calendar contained an item that could be of particular note when the board meets on June 11.

That's when the council will consider extending the current contract with local Coastal Environmental Services to provide curbside garbage and recycling pickup at homes throughout the city.

The current five-year deal ends June 30 and the city would like to extend it another five years until June 30, 2024, but Coastal submitted an amendment to the agreement proposing a monthly rate increase of $1.68 for services, from $19.61 to $21.29 per home.

For that price, the trash company picks up garbage and green waste twice a week and collects recycling once a week from homes within Slidell city limits.

The suggested increase has led the city to offer three amendments of its own, however, and all are scheduled to be discussed on June 11 during a public hearing on the matter.

  • Amendment A would decrease the home rate by $1.68 per month, but both trash and recycling would be picked up only once per week.
  • Amendment B would decrease the monthly rate by $3.03, offer one garbage pickup weekly and eliminate recycling pickups.
  • Amendment C would decrease the monthly rate by $0.97 and keep twice weekly trash pickups, but eliminate recycling.

Councilman at-Large Bill Borchert and Councilwoman at-Large Kim Harbison offered the ordinance at the request of Mayor Greg Cromer’s administration. Borchert said Coastal is trying to keep up with the soaring cost of recycling collection, but that no one, including him, likes to see a rate increase.

“It cost about $65 a ton to recycle when we started this contract (in 2014,) Borchert said. “Now it’s about $135 a ton. When you add in the cost of hauling the recycling, it’s about four times what it costs for a ton of garbage to go straight to a landfill.”

Borchert said he supports keeping recycling collections in place in Slidell, saying it’s a quality-of-life issue.

Still, Borchert said, numbers he's seen show that about 30 percent of what goes into area recycling containers winds up in a landfill anyway because homeowners sometimes mix recyclables with products that cannot be recycled, and thus contaminate the batch.

Borchert added that he’s undecided if trash pickup would be better once a week or twice a week, and that he’s curious to see how the council votes on June 11.

Coastal Environmental Services became Slidell’s contracted waste services provider when it purchased all parish assets of Waste Connections Bayou, Inc., (formerly known as Progressive Waste Solutions of LA, Inc.) last September. That included municipal services in Slidell, Covington, Mandeville and Abita Springs, as well as unincorporated areas of the parish and Picayune, Mississippi.