Carthage City Hall (copy)

Carthage will make service changes to its trash pickup beginning May 31.

Carthage will make the switch to a once-a-week garbage pickup and require residents to use trash carts beginning at the end of the month.

The service changes officially take effect May 31, and city officials are asking residents to give the new service changes a chance.

“We know there will be some adjustments, there will be some issues that we have to deal with,” City Manager Steve Williams said. “Anytime you change things, that will happen. But it’ll be the norm, you’ll get used to it and it’ll work fine from here on out.”

The new trash routes are detailed on a map provided by the city:

  • Blue Area (Thursdays): A pie-shaped area between U.S. 79/West Panola Street and Texas 315/West Sabine Street that goes to Adams Street.
  • Purple Area (Tuesdays): An area that runs roughly north and east of U.S. 79/West Panola Street and west of North St. Mary Street. Some areas west of North St. Mary Street north of Hunter Road are in the Green Area.
  • Green Area (Mondays): An area that runs roughly north of East Sabine Street and east of North St. Mary Street. This also includes an area west of North St. Mary Street north of Hunter Road and an area south of East Sabine Street that is north of Lake Road and Lawrence Roads.
  • Red Area (Fridays): This includes the southern half of the city below East and West Sabine Streets.

The city signed a new contract with Waste Connections earlier this year. Under that contract, residents will see once-a-week trash pickup for a cost of $15.45 a month. The city will also make the switch to using carts, with everyone getting a free 96-gallon Waste Connections cart to use for their homes.

Additional carts are available at $5 each. Residents who need to request more carts should call City Hall. If a resident is already using more than one cart with the current service, all of their carts will be replaced when the service changes are made.

Waste Connections District Manager Blake Aulds said, starting May 31, they would only pick up trash in the Waste Connections-issued carts. That’s because the truck they use can only pick up those carts.

“Not every cart is created equal,” Aulds said. “Some of them, even if they are roughly the same shape, the polymer that they use is a little different, when we go to grab it with the automated arms, crush it, then we end up dumping it inside the truck. Once it goes in there, it’s lost forever. Or some of the smaller ones, they can’t even get picked up with them because they’re that little.”

Residents can expect their new carts (and dumpsters for commercial customers) to arrive between May 24 and May 28. Waste Connections will also send out a letter to all residents and customers with instructions on how to use the new carts.

All trash should be placed outside by 7 a.m. on pick-up day. Aulds said carts should be placed within 7 feet of the street and at least 3 feet away from any stationery object, like a mailbox, fence, parked car or tree so that the trucks don’t hit anything when they go to collect your trash.

Williams said the only exception to the service changes are residents who live in University Park Place, because the trucks can’t go down behind their houses and pick up their trash. So those residents will continue to use bag pickup.

Residents who physically cannot get their trash to the streets, such as disabled or elderly people or residents who may need temporary help after surgery, can make arrangements with the city to have their trash picked up without them having to walk it to the street. Williams said this is something the city already does and will continue to do.

Waste Connections will pick up carts that are filled to the brim and may be slightly open. But residents who continuously overfill their carts will need to get extra carts so their trash all fits.

Aulds said the 96-gallon carts they will be issuing can fit about five or six basic kitchen garbage bags for sure. Those using the contractor-style 55-gallon bags can maybe fit two or three. Those using the 30-gallon bags the city offers can fit three full bags into a cart.

For things like leaves or bulk items, Aulds said residents have several options.

“If you’ve got a minimal amount of leaves and things, you can throw them in a bag, throw them in your cart,” he said. “That first cart or your second cart if you do have two, if you know you’ve got a bunch, you can always call the city and get scheduled for extra carts for that month. It’s $5 for the month. You can throw all those extra bags, the leaves, inside those carts or there’s always still the transfer station off the Loop that you can take those things out to and dispose of there.”

Another option, Aulds said, is to call Waste Connections and schedule a bulk pickup.

While the coming changes are different from the city’s current twice-a-week, bag pickup service, Williams said the city made the switch for several reasons. Right now, he said, Carthage was the only city Waste Connection services that uses twice-a-week pickup — and when they went out to bid, no other company offered to do twice-a-week pickup.

Keeping the same twice-a-week service would have increased costs to residents as well. City commissioners when voting to make the switch noted it’d be cheaper for residents to do once-a-week pickup with two carts than continue the twice-a-week pickup option.

Another thing Williams noted: The trash schedule switch means less stress on city streets.

“When you see their trucks going around town, they ride in the same place in the street every week,” he said. “This will cut that down by half, which will help save our streets.”

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Meredith Shamburger serves as the regional editor for Carthage and Kilgore. She has previously worked at the Longview News-Journal, the Marshall News Messenger and The Dallas Morning News. Meredith graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011.