Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Recycling plan cheats customers

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It is quite common here in the valley for people to contract lemmingitis. This disease, while not fatal, usually surfaces when elected officials force-feed them baloney until they become mind-numbingly intoxicated.

Such was the case with Republic Services’ recycling proposal. Many Clark County commissioners also contracted lemmingitis. Republic fed their political campaign coffers while placating their angst with the “revenue neutral” song.

Now that the county has succumbed, Las Vegas is next. No doubt that Republic is making money here, just not enough.

The public rarely gets to see all the facts, and in this case any relevant facts were shared primarily between Republic and some commissioners. This is a done deal.

Republic got a more profitable sweetheart deal, and the public got a service reduction, two new bins and the same bill.

Here’s what we lemmings don’t know and some won’t say. How much longer did the “good for us” contract have left to run? It matters because it provides negotiating leverage.

Automated waste trucks capable of simultaneously retrieving waste and recycling materials exist. If Republic uses these vehicles, its labor and operating costs could be cut by nearly 40 percent: three trips every two weeks, not four or five.

Was Republic’s contract term extended? What other provisions would allow Republic to automatically increase rates? Does this new grand bargain contain an option for competitive bids or is it strictly sole source? Why didn’t the state mandate that waste hauling, just like other essential utilities, come under the auspices of the Public Utilities Commission?

The devil really is in the details, isn’t he?

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  1. "The devil really is in the details, isn't he?"

    Richard, I would suggest bringing some details next time you write a letter. Do you have any numbers to support your theory? There have been two LVS letters to the editor on this subject and an overwhelming number of comments were in favor of the two large bin/one pick up approach.

  2. The new system works, like it or not and agree with it or not. It's easy, even if the letter writer is 110 percent correct on all points [and I'm not saying he is], to impugn Republic Services' motives and intentions. What's harder is offering a viable option that works better for the long term.

    I'm no fan of Republic's management and executives. I am their workers. Sadly, they need each other and their customers, us, to keep on keeping on.
    CarmineD

  3. I'm in favor of increasing recycling efforts. It is a positive step in reducing the amount of recyclables that are ending up in landfills.

    Having said that, I am guilty of not recycling under the antique system currently being used where I live. I am forced to separate recyclables into 3 colored bins, only to watch the recycle truck driver throw everything into the same hopper. But what really made me quit the three bin approach was some a**hat dumping all my recyclables into the street, breaking all the glass and creating a huge mess that I cleaned up. I stopped recycling that day. Give me a large lidded bin for recyclables, and another for trash and I will again recycle. Whether service is cut to once a week is irrelevant to me. I would like to see a reduction in rates though. Halving service and cutting employees so Republic can increase profits doesn't sit well with me.

  4. Gary:

    I agree with you on the open recyclable bins. Due to the wind in the valley, I spent many a morning and day retrieving cans, bottles, and papers from the neighborhood streets and front yards on collection days. And they weren't even mine!

    CarmineD

  5. With the new system that republic has put in place in our neighborhood,One pickup per week cut from 2 per week and larger bins for both trash and recycling materials is fine with us.

    If the letter writer is correct about a possible 40% reduction in operating expenses due to less trips per week,less man hours for workers and less fuel consumed,along with less wear and tear on their vechicles. We the consumer should not be seeing any increase in our monthly bills for years to come. The most positive thing I see happening is Republic services will be making a lot more money as more people recycle for them to sell these recycled materials.

  6. Author, you are complaining about what? You forgot to tell us.

  7. Republic Services did a smart thing when they came up with the new bins. People are happy and most don't have a problem with fewer pickups.

    The reality is that is brings more profits without an increase in fees.

    That is more than we can say about NV Energy.

  8. Jeff posted a series of links to an episode of Penn and Teller's "Bull****!" that dealt with recycling. Besides being very funny at some points, it did raise questions. My wife thinks they got some bad data, though. I'm not sure what to think, but am inclined to give credence to about half of it or a little more.

    In any event, from an ease of use perspective, we greatly prefer the new system and it has other advantages such as not letting the neighborhood known how much beer we drink.

    Even if we grant all the points brought out by the show, if we are going to have recycling, then the new system is far better than having to sort into 3 (or 7, that was hilarious) containers.

  9. I see a lot of very naive responses here. For those that want details avoid reading letters that are limited to 250 words. Apparently the city of Las Vegas is now awaiting some sort of mandate from the 2013 legislature that everyone must recycle. This will provide cover for giving Republic the go ahead on their terms thus voiding a very good for the homeowner's contract we now have. If everyone is mandated to recycle by law just guess what this will cost in addition to what you now pay. Don't get me wrong our household has been recycling everything for decades including picking up usable items put out for trash and dropping them off at charities. Having many years of experience negotiating large long term contracts with government agencies I can safely say Republic will likely take these folks to the cleaners and they won't recognize that they really have no clothes, just a cleaning bill.

  10. I find it curious that with an upcoming vote on Republic Services recycling proposal that the local media isn't all over this one like they were several years ago. All Republic is asking to do is slash our residential garbage pickup by 50 percent and our overall waste hauling by 20 percent. In return we get a shinny new recycling container, nothing else. Republic Services has been working toward this end game for at least four years. All they are demanding now is for every homeowner here in Clark County and Las Vegas to take one for the team. And what a team it is. Republic has assembled their dream team of key vote elected all-stars. Will the all-stars performance influence your vote next election? Let's wait and see how well they do. Here's Republic's political contribution lineup.

  11. Local contributions. All these companies reside at the same address on Sahara.

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    8/30/2011
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Ross

    Republic Silver State Disposal Inc
    1/26/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Ross

    Republic Silver State Disposal Inc
    8/30/2011
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Sisolak

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    1/31/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Sisolak

    Republic Environmental Technologies
    1/31/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Sisolak

    Republic Recycling Services of Nevada Inc.
    11/12/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Sisolak

    Republic Services, Inc.
    10/23/2012
    $10,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Steve Sisolak

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    3/23/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence L Brown

    Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc
    3/23/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence L Brown

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    2/15/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence Weekly

    Republic Silver State Disposal Inc
    2/15/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence Weekly

    Republic Dumpco, Inc.
    11/6/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence Weekly

    Republic Silver State Disposal Inc.
    11/6/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Lawrence Weekly

    Republic Silver State Disposal
    6/19/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Tom Collins

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    11/5/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Tom Collins

    Republic Environmental Technologies
    11/5/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Tom Collins

    Republic Dumpco, Inc
    1/31/2012
    $5,000
    Monetary Contribution
    Bob R Coffin

    Republic Environmental Technologies, Inc.
    1/31/2012
    $2,500
    Monetary Contribution
    Bob R Coffin

    Republic Silver state Disposal, Inc.
    1/31/2012
    $2,500
    Monetary Contribution
    Bob R Coffin

    Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc
    3/5/2012
    $1,500
    Monetary Contribution
    Bob T Beers

    Republic is not some altruistic recycling organization, they are a for-profit, executive bonus based business. Having had my own business I get that. Should Republic's new plan be adopted as-is, what will these elected officials tell the 70, 80, 90% of homeowners here who will never recycle using this approach? "We only cut your garbage collection services by 50%, but on the bright side, in doing so it really didn't cost you any more?" Will this suffice? Not for me it won't, and I recycle.

  12. Re Richard: I get your point, but all I'm looking at is a bit more convenience for me, the hapless customer of RS. A covered bin for recyclables, and ditto for trash would be an improvement over the silly three bin approach, whereby I become an unpaid recyclable sorter for no apparent reason. Rates must be addressed if and when the whole valley goes to the new bin system. As I commented on earlier, halving service, cutting employees, and generally making it easier and more profitable for RS to do business should, and MUST result in a rate reduction. I'm watching to see if this is even addressed, much less implemented by RS.

  13. Good article. Succinct comment 12:10. If Republic would use the full-service trucks that allow for fewer runs through the neighborhoods.....and IF those trucks have sound mufflers......I could get into this.

  14. Bottom line is they are still going to pick up 100% of your trash. They are going to now provide you with trash and recycle cans at no additional cost. You need more trash cans, they provide those at no additional cost.

    They will not be coming twice a week but still picking up all your trash. No cut in service.

    The 60 seconds of noise once a week won't bother me at all. Amazing how someone can keep harping on that.

    This has worked for many years for many people. I can't find anyone that is already doing this that has any major complaint. Seems it only those that have not tried it are all up in arms about it.

  15. Sorry to spoil all your fun of trying to label people Jeff but been an independent all my life.

    I don't side with parties or follow your views.

  16. What's going to stop the bums from going house to house to raid the recyclable container? I bet you they are going to be hitting the streets real hard.

    Also, the home-owner is going to do the work to seperate the trash from the recyclables, and either the bumbs or Republic are going to get paid.

    What a system lol

  17. "I don't see the ELEPHANT in the room"!

    Bottom line...
    Once a week trash collection is going to STINK.
    I don't care that the new containers have covers;
    that will NOT stop the STENCH in July/August when it's a hundred degrees in your garage!

  18. gmag39,

    Look at it this way, the stench (if there is one) will help cover the smell from a few pot plants. :)

  19. Re gmag: Is it necessary to store your refuse in your garage? I keep mine on the side yard patio, covered, and have no problem with smell. My trash is bagged even before it gets tossed into the trash can. Obviously storing garbage in your garage will probably result in stench. Air, man, give it AIR!

  20. ressince73: get with the program. Even tho I continue to do so (out of habit), there's no need to separate the recyclables anymore and hasn't been for some time. Hey, everyone, notice who whines the most about the upcoming change? It's the same leftists who cannot spend enough of your money when it comes to their "pet" projects. However, ask them to pay their own way and they squeal like the greedy little piggies they truly are. I love it.