UG Committee moves trash collection pilot program forward

The Unified Government Public Works and Safety Committee tonight moved a pilot trash collection program forward to the full UG Commission for approval.

Public Works Department and Waste Management officials described the test program for an automated cart system during tonight’s meeting.

The pilot program, if approved, would be conducted for six months in three neighborhoods, Strawberry Hill, North Ridge in Piper Estates, and Highland Crest.

Residents would continue to have weekly trash collection. They would receive one 95-gallon trash can for their trash. Anyone with additional bags of trash would have to purchase stickers at $1.25 for each bag, or they could sign up for an additional trash cart for $5 a month more.

Residents would receive another 95-gallon can for recycling, which would be collected every two weeks, according to officials. There would be no limit on recycled items; extra cans or bags could be added to recycling.

The pilot trash collection program could come before the full UG Commission on May 10, according to the agenda.

The vote to move the item forward to the full Commission was opposed by Commissioner Mike Kane. Commissioners Melissa Bynum, Brian McKiernan, Angela Markley, Jane Philbrook and BPU board member Tom Groneman voted in favor of moving it forward.

Waste Management officials described an automated truck with an arm that reaches out and grabs a trash can, emptying it into the trash truck.

Several other communities throughout the nation, and some in the Kansas City area, already use this system, according to officials.

Some of the commissioners expressed doubts about the plan tonight.

UG staff said there was $79,000 available in credits that the UG could put toward the cost of this pilot program.

Commissioner Kane said he was against giving Waste Management a dime to conduct the pilot program. This program in theory may save the company money, and it will use less employees, he said. He also was against using any credits the UG has with the company.

He also asked how elderly people would be able to drag a 95-gallon trash can up a long driveway, especially in bad weather.

He said he gets a call about once a week from residents in his district whose trash wasn’t picked up.

Commissioner Jane Philbrook also said she has had several complaints about trash pickup. The Stony Point area was mentioned as one place where the work wasn’t done adequately.

Philbrook said the money the UG was talking about was not “credits,” it was what the company owed the UG for not doing the job. She said she would rather see that money used by the company picking up trash in the parks.

She said she was interested in a basic level of care for residents, and also, she wanted to make sure that there was more than one meeting held in each neighborhood with the residents to discuss the program.

In answer to questions from Commissioner Brian McKiernan, officials said the automated trucks would be able to service the community faster. The trucks are slightly larger, with more capacity, according to officials.

McKiernan questioned the access on very narrow streets in some Strawberry Hill neighborhoods. An official said to service that neighborhood, they may have to retrofit a smaller truck with a cart tipper.

Company officials said if residents put out too much trash, over the limit, haulers would take it, but leave a tag that the resident needs to phone the customer service department to get more information about the trash pickup program. If the resident does it again, one possible solution would be for codes officials to give them a ticket, according to officials.

Waste Management officials said there are options available if the community wants to provide special services for the elderly or disabled. That possibly would cost more and would be negotiated as part of the contract.

Two residents spoke at the meeting.

Shirley Ikerd asked the committee to delay approval of the program, and wait until the public had more time to weigh in on it.

Sheryl Becker said trash has not been picked up consistently in town home areas.

For more information, and a video of this meeting on YouTube, visit

17 thoughts on “UG Committee moves trash collection pilot program forward”

  1. Good morning – I and several others think there is already so much trash on the streets already from the trash company breaking a bag and not cleaning it up. Trash already blows all over the neighborhood until I get out and clean it up. If you limit the number of trash containers KCK will have so much more dumping problems because some homes are multifamily homes.
    I do however like the recycling part, so why couldn’t our trash stay the same but let us use those little recycle bins to start as that might help. Thanks for listening to my suggestion and please know that we already have people dumping trash and if you do this … it will be so much more and our community will look like trash!

  2. Waste Mgmt needs to get their act together before they tackle a new project. Since they have taken over, pick up is irregular at best. Truck now runs up and down my street at least 5 times. The old company would make one pass. Employees would do both sides of the street as they moved along. Oh no, not now. One pass for my side pf the street. One pass for the other side of the street. Then they back again to get the top of the street, it’s just crazy. You can not tell me it’s more cost efficient. The new plan will increase dumping, with limits set.

  3. We are definitely concerned about giving a poorly run company an opportunity to do a test program. They have consistently proven incapable of effective management. To waste precious resources to save them money is a travesty. We agree with comments with regard to losing employment opportunities, 95-gallon bins being difficult for the elderly and citizens skirting the $1.25 for stickers by dumping, etc. Stop this nonsense by putting time and energy into more effective efforts and while you are at it, hire a different waste management company.

  4. I agree, how are some of the elderly in the neighborhoods expected to drag those large containers to the street. In my neighborhood we have a lot of vacant land due to the houses being torn down and just last week we had 3 separate piles of trash dumped. So I think trying to enforce a limit is just going to cause bigger issues in some neighborhoods. My mother stays in Rosedale and someone is always dumping on Wolf road.

  5. This is insane for Highland Crest Area! Limit these families to one trash can per week? Have you driven in this area during trash day? I’m a single person and I have a large trash can that is full every week! I do like the recycling idea to have a can for that because those little tubs are a joke, all that does is blow your plastic bottles and cardboard all over the neighborhood! Why is the first time I see anything about this is on Facebook?

  6. I am an elderly single woman living alone, and barely have 1 bag of trash every week. It is always tied securely and not left out overnight for animals to ravage. Why should I be forced to drag a huge dumpster to the street and back each week? The collection company is doing this only to diminish its costs and cut back on personnel, when the city needs these types of jobs. Use the credits for a better purpose.

  7. Waste Management is the largest trash company in the U.S. Their service has been a joke since they took over Deffenbaugh. There has been a number of times recently that they failed to pick up the trash and recycling bins in Argentine. If you try to contact them you must navigate the typical robot phone system that is now commonplace in American “customer service.”
    They are a profit driven corporation and this is another way for them to maximize profits.
    How will these trucks navigate the older neighborhoods with cars parked on the street and pick up these curbside bins? I think the city needs to carefully consider the problems that will make this new “service” unmanageable. Of course the first thing they bring up is extra charges for not falling in line. And involving the code enforcement people to whip the chronic offenders into shape. Sounds like revenue enhancement all around to me!

  8. About time we voted these commissioners out of office, why would they even think about doing this with a trash company who is lousy. I could see using the $79,000.00 for a better use, I for one can’t imagine an elderly or disabled person dragging a 95 pound trash can.
    Use that $79,000.00 to tear down abandoned homes, help the homeless, veterans and the elderly.

  9. Will residents be forced to pay for replacement of said trash barrels if they disappear from the rightful owner’s property? I live in Highland Crest and have had my trash barrel stolen twice. I would rather see that $79,000 used to hire two or three additional code enforcement personnel. UG should clearly be focusing time and money on improving our residential streets (let’s start with the huge pothole at the end of my driveway that I bottom my car out daily, that I’ve complained to the city about, with no response), replacing street lights, or upgrading our power grid (Highland Crest loses power when the wind blows!), investing in and cleaning up vacant properties… I could go on and on about the misdirection of resources in Wyandotte County, but unfortunately seems to fall on deaf ears.

  10. I have a disability and I can’t get my trash down the steps now, I have a very nice neighbor who puts it on the street for me. How would seniors or disabled people be able to handle something that big. I have a 32-gallon trash can and that is hard for me to handle at times. If we all had flat driveways like in Johnson County or out west in Wyandotte County, but not in the inner city in old neighborhoods, more houses are built on hills. They charge enough money now. The city could use the credit in a better way.

    1. I completely agree…. I do not understand how an elderly person or a disabled person could pull a 95 gallon trash can. Plus most of them are already on a very strict budget.

  11. They have those giant containers on the south side of Chicago (assume the rest of the city, but know south side for sure). I noticed that the townhomes/homes had at least two large containers each, versus the one mentioned here for KCK. They were in alleys in the areas I saw. Seemed very unkempt and messy in some areas, with junk all over the place.

  12. When Deffenbaugh ran our trash service they were great! Waste Management service has gone down hill ever since they took over. WYCO has a contract and Waste Management doesn’t even live up to it. Why in the world would WYCO give them any kind of $ to change our trash pick up? Let them prove they can fulfill the contract in place now before any changes are made!

  13. Seems like a great idea….in the summer (90 degree’s + heat) two weeks of trash in a can.. Why don’t Commissioners Melissa Bynum, Brian McKiernan, Angela Markley, Jane Philbrook and BPU board member Tom Groneman who voted in favor of moving it forward be the first WyCo citizens to try this out! Hope they don’t have a HOA that makes you keep the can in the garage.

  14. True about the elderly. My mom and dad live in Eudora and in their late 80’s. We have to go out and put their barrels out the night before. Recycling was very confusing to them therefore would like to see recycling an option.

    Thinking about the barrels themselves. They are an eyesore in the neighborhood. Not everyone has a garage big enough to store the barrels in and most in these areas have no garages.

    What will those that live on a hillside in the Strawberry Hill area do?

  15. Waste Management is a joke, but no one is laughing. With as many complaints that have been registered, why are we (or I should say UG) still honoring their portion of the contact, Waste Management certainly has not upheld their end. Twice this year I have had my recycle green in out, and it was full, so I also had a cardboard box filled and marked in big letters RECYCLE. Both recycle boxes were 12 feet from the regular trash barrel. Regular truck picked up the recycle box along with regular trash … left the green recycle bin. The green bin and box are together, I don’t understand what else I could do except maybe stand out there and wait for them so I can explain it to them since they did not understand the printed black & white instructions. And to this type of service the UG wants to offer them more for less service?

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