email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trash Pickup

Before I moved here, I rented a house in another county where trash pickup was a single-contractor county service, paid through taxes.  When I moved here, it was all private multiple-contractor service, and I signed up.  All had 2 day per week pickup and all cost the same (about $35 per month and that was 20 years ago).  It was all OK for a while.

But then, the county started recycling pickups AND I had started a compost pile.  Between recycling and compost, my "trash" dropped to almost nothing!  My one bag of trash once a month got ignored because my pickup company guys kept forgetting I was a customer.  And paying $35 a month for one bag seemed ridiculous.  And back then, I had Tinkerbell, then Skeeter and LC and they preferred to do their business outside.  I didn't even have much kitty litter to toss.

I tried 3 companies and they always lost track of me on the routes.  They said "well just put out your trash can twice a week with a small bag in it.  I didn't even have THAT most weeks.  So I cancelled the pickup service and switched to saving it for a few months and then driving to the county landfill paying $1 for the bag (my "trash" is not smelly, almost anything "smelly" is compostable).

Things change.  Ayla, Iza, and Marley prefer to do their business indoors.  I've even seen them demand to come in, use the litter box, and then demand to go back outside.  And I've started ending up with some bulkier trash.  So I was going to the landfill sometimes with a few 100 lbs of non-recyclable, non-compostable trash, and the price of gas was going up.  So between the flat disposal rate of $5 and a gallon of gas to get there in my SUV, it was starting to be noticible.  And who wants to have to drive to a landfill to unload in Winter or mucky Spring rains?

Well, 2 days ago, a guy knocked on the door and asked abut my trash pickup service.  I told him I didn't have one.  Now, I usually automatically just (politely) blow off door-knockers.  If I want something, I'll find it on my own and comparison-shop carefully.  But he managed to get my interest.

I explained that the cost was too high, and that I usually didn't have enough trash to put out the barrel once or twice each week and that what I really needed was a service that charged half the price for a single monthly pickup.

I was surprised to discover my 2 major problems were resolved!  First, they provide company-identified trash cans and the cost was half what it used to be.  So, no matter how infrequently I put the trash out, they won't miss me!  Second, at only $20 per month, the cost begins to approach my own cost of landfill dumping and gas (and time).  And the contract is only quarterly, not annual.  If I don't like their service, I can drop them.

Most of my trash is kitty litter, followed by styrofoam packing peanuts,and blue or black styrofoam containers (which are not recyclable here), and some strange odds and ends.  I can manage a small bag each week.

And the cool thing is that I HAPPEN to have a LOT of unrecyclable, un-compostable trash right now.  Heavy old rotting preservative-treated wood from the old raised framed garden beds I am replacing now!  I estimate that the cost of landfill-dumping of all that stuff would be about $50 at least right now, and I'm less than half through tearing out the old wood.  So I should actually save money through Spring and getting rid of it a LOT easier.

And I'll mention that the landfill is inundated by seagulls searching for scraps of food.  They normally don't bother visitors, but one day they got all scared up and flew over my car.  Raining poop...  If you don't know about seagull poop, it dries quickly and turns to cement.  It took me 2 hours to clean the car after that 1 episode.

I hesitated to hand the trash guy a $60 check for services I hadn't yet received, but he presented a pretty good collection of legitimacy.  His car had the trash company logo (Evergreen Disposal) and I see their trucks each week.  He had a well-worn Evergreen hat, pictures of him in an Evergreen trash truck, pictures of him with other Evergreen people, a picture of him at some trash conventionpictures of him receiving an award at an Evergreen company meeting, and I imagine a check made out to Evergreen Disposal would be awkward to cash...  He suggested I use my smart phone to check their website (where he said he is a route manager) assuming I had a smart phone (who doesn't?  Well, *I* don't, but he didn't know that).  I think I was sufficiently cautious.

If I got scammed by a door-knocker, it will be about the first time ever and I might even tip my hat to him.  I have a pretty good mental "BS meter".

But I expect I will be getting regular trash pickup starting Nov 4th at a really good price and saving myself a lot of trips to the county landfill.

1 comment:

Megan said...

I'm afraid that I usually just say 'no thanks' to door knockers and close the door. It's not that I don't trust them necessarily. It's that I don't feel comfortable being sold services in this manner. Like you, I'd prefer to do online research and shop around. But, in this instance, it does seem as though you might have just met the right service provider at the right time. It will be interesting to hear if it works out well.

Sydney, Australia