Missed pickups reported in Michigan for possible new trash hauler; are council members concerned?

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A company called GFL Environmental is on track to become the city’s next trash collector and we did some digging and found they too have had issues picking up trash on time.

“I am ecstatic just like the rest of the public to say goodbye to Red River,” Councilman Russ Jehl said. “Good riddance.”

Jehl has been outspoken on the city’s trash troubles and is counting down the day’s until Fort Wayne says farewell to current trash collector, Red River Waste Solutions. Jehl is not the only one on council who feels that way, so does Councilman Tom Didier.

“Red River is who they are,” Didier said. “I think from what I can see, we’re going on to the next phase of what we can do.”

There are three companies hoping to be Fort Wayne’s newest trash hauler. GFL Environmental, Republic services and Waste Management.

According to state law, the city’s must go with the lowest responsive bidder. A new law will change that in July, but the city must follow the current one.

“I can tell you that I hope the relationship is better than the one with Red River,” Diddier said.

Right now, GFL is the lowest bidder and is on track to take over from Red River. However, we did some digging and found they had issues picking up garbage in the summer of 2021. According to reports by Detroit station WDIV, the company missed pickups Livonia, Mich. and surrounding areas.

City officials there say the reason was because of drivers who were out sick with COVID. They say those issues were limited and were quickly resolved.

“There seems to be an idea that when we hire a new provider that things are going to go back to being perfect,” Jehl said. “There’s a shortage of drivers that will impact all three providers. All I’ve had is one 30 minute meeting with GFL. It was like speed dating. I was only allowed to ask one question.”

We tried to get an on camera interview with officials in Lavonia, but nobody was available. City council is expected to further discuss trash collection at Tuesday night’s meeting.

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