Butte County Trash Collection Changes Confuse Residents

Mar 5, 2015

The roll-out of a new system of trash collection is causing some concerns among affected Butte County residents. 

Credit NVJ / Flickr, Creative Commons

A new system to better coordinate trash pick-up in unincorporated parts of Butte is rattling the cages of a few local residents with confusion and frustration. 

Several residents contacted NSPR, complaining about reductions and losses of various services. 

Candace Menefee, who has lived in the same home for 22 years, was upset and a bit astounded when she learned that she would lose a service she’s grown to count on.

“I thought we were supposed to cut down on the county landfill,” Menefee said. “They wanted you to recycle everything. That’s what they teach kids in school, that’s just what you grow up with. You recycle.”

However, county officials maintain that Menefee received incorrect information and that trash haulers will still pick up her and her neighbors’ recycling, just not as frequently. 

Bill Mannel, the county’s solid waste manager, said one of the companies, Waste Management, a nationwide firm, has local phone calls routed to a call center in Phoenix, and that some residents were getting faulty information. Mannel said that with the exception of nine households in Cohasset and another nine in Yankee Hill, pretty much everyone else who used to have recycling pick-up will still have it. 

Called a franchise agreement, the new system carves up the county into exclusive service areas for each of the three companies that used to compete for customers. Officials said the system will reduce wear and tear on roads, ultimately shaving costs from the county’s budget. 

Mannel said officials further divided each company’s service area based on population density, with the most rural areas — which make up most of the county — getting only trash pick-up. More populated areas will get recycling and yard waste pick-up on alternating weeks. 

Some residents are already complaining that they’ll be paying the same amount for less frequent recycling pick-up. Mannel said the move was necessary to hold down costs and avoid pushing garbage bills higher.