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Information About The New Waste & Recycling Contract With Penn Waste
Lower Paxton Township approved a new contract with Penn Waste for residential waste and recycling services in April. Below is information about the contract and why Penn Waste was selected.
Locally and throughout the country, higher fuel prices and increased labor costs cited by waste haulers are causing trash collection rates to spike, with many municipalities seeing costs to their residents double – or more.
- Lower Paxton Township Supervisors expect to approve a new contract in April, which will take effect July 1, 2023..
In 2022, for example, Middle Paxton Township’s collection rate nearly doubled to $600 per year and Derry Township saw an 89.7 percent trash increase to $113.85 per quarter. This year, residents in New Cumberland – where only one hauler bid -- will see an 80 percent increase to $90 per quarter.
Automated trash collection becoming the norm
A consequence of higher labor costs is that many haulers are moving away from so-called manual collection, where either bags or trash bags are collected by hand.
Instead, “automated collection” is increasingly becoming the only option, where residents use standardized wheeled carts. These carts have a metal bar allowing them to be picked up by a side-mounted arm, which dumps them in the truck.
Lower Paxton’s situation
The Township’s five-year contract with Waste Management ended this year. Waste Management refused to extend the agreement, under which residents pay $67/quarter.
Township staff bid the contract with various options and with the intent to keep the current level of service, including weekly bulk collection and yard and leaf waste pickup.
Three haulers bid on the new contract: Waste Management, Penn Waste, and Republic Services.
- Penn Waste was the apparent low bidder, and by law, the township is required to approve the lowest responsible bid.
Below are comparisons of the three bids received, and to see and download the full PowerPoint presentation about the bids, click here. The green column to the right shows Penn Waste was the lowest responsible bidder for both municipal waste and recycling collection.
Penn Waste’s contract
Penn Waste’s five-year contract maintains a similar level of service, including bi-weekly leaf waste collection, weekly bulk-item collection (pre-scheduled), and weekly recycling collection. All three companies only bid on automated collection, requiring residents to use the kind of trash carts provided by the hauler.
The contract proposal, which includes three optional one-year extensions, has the following quarterly rates:
Note: The three-year contract option was almost $30/quarter more expensive.
Neither Waste Management nor Republic was willing to handle billing as part of the contract. Penn Waste offered to handle billing at an additional cost of $30/quarter.
- To lower costs for residents, the Township will handle billing in-house, which will only cost $5/quarter – a $25 savings over Penn Waste’s proposal.
About the trash carts residents will receive
As previously noted, all three companies that bid on Lower Paxton’s waste removal contract only bid on the automated collection, requiring specific carts.
Initially, all residents will receive two 96-gallon carts – one for recycling and the other for trash (the cart can accommodate over 7 standard 13-gallon household trash bags). We realize that some households may not have a garage or other space to conveniently store the bins, so after the contract begins in July, residents can switch to a 65-gallon cart.
Details about how residents can request the smaller cart will be available in the coming months.
Periodically, the township receives complaints about torn bags spilling trash in neighborhoods. Switching to these new carts – which all haulers required – provides homes with a sturdy container with an attached lid that should lessen the issue of spilled trash on collection days.
Pennsylvania law requires municipalities of Lower Paxton’s size to provide recycling collection. Part of Penn Waste’s low bid includes giving the Township a 10 percent discount awarding waste and recycling collection to the company. The cost of hiring additional staff and equipment to bring recycling in-house is cost prohibitive.
Bulk pickup and yard waste
The cost of continuing bulk pickup and yard waste collection is not a primary cost driver in the proposed contract – each service is less than $4/quarter for much of the agreement, rising to $4.17 in 2027. A concern is that eliminating bulk collection could lead to illegal dumping, and, as with recycling, expanding the Township’s Composing Facility to handle all residential yard waste would be cost-prohibitive.