Letter: Buncombe County should trash Waste Pro contract

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have been told by Mountain Xpress that Waste Pro [USA] is one of the most popular companies to complain about. I now have three weeks of unpicked-up recycling blue bags at the bottom of my driveway. Bags have been attacked by animals; bags have been driven over by vehicles; broken glass and scattered trash is the result.

Calling the local Waste Pro Arden office is a futile exercise. You get a recording telling you all representatives are “helping other customers,” followed by an announcement about how much Waste Pro “cares” and how to be green. Followed by a disconnect. This happens repeatedly.

The difference in cost to homeowners for trash removal was pennies between the previous company and Waste Pro. I do not recall having repeated problems before Waste Pro got the Buncombe County contract, but do recall repeated problems with Waste Pro over and over for lack of pickup.

One year, in the middle of the summer, their trucks broke down, and they just dumped everything on the edge of our road over a long weekend. Stray dogs and bears had a good time. Of course, Waste Pro could not be contacted; their offices are closed on weekends.

One has to wonder: How did Waste Pro get a 10-year contract? Who, at the Buncombe County administration made that decision and why, in view of constant complaints? Waste Pro’s service is horrible! Please, Buncombe County, pick another company. Enough is enough.

— S. Anderson
Fairview

Editor’s note: Since writing the letter, Anderson reports that she heard back from Waste Pro, and the company finally picked up five weeks of recycling (though the bags had been attacked by animals in the meantime). Xpress also contacted Waste Pro USA about the complaint, and received the following response from Senior Vice President Ron Pecora, who said in part: “We have reviewed our onboard video, and no garbage was dumped on the street. What occurred is a resident did not realize that blue recycling bags are temporarily placed on the back of a rear-load garbage truck on garbage routes and then placed in a central location for later pickup so as not to commingle. We have been doing this for years because it is more efficient and reduces truck time in neighborhoods. …

“We have invested significantly in systems to answer calls quicker. … We recently directed the overflow calls to our regional Surge Support Center with the wait-time goal less than 1  minute.

“If we miss a stop, we apologize and get it corrected as soon as we can. … I will say misses are fraction of the thousands of stops every week, and are crews work hard but, no excuses, if we miss, we get it corrected.”

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7 thoughts on “Letter: Buncombe County should trash Waste Pro contract

  1. Stan Hawkins

    This is a familiar story. Big spending big taxing government wants more power and control of your money and lives. The best idea they can come up with to achieve those goals is to introduce a service to county citizen taxpayers. But, this is the catch, it usually always comes with only one option of how you receive that service. If service becomes lousy, guess what, you typically cannot call a competitor to get a competing bid for your service.

    It was not that long ago that our former Chairmen Gantt introduced a proposal to make it mandatory that all county taxpayers pay their trash pickup fees through their tax bills, thus forcing all taxpayers to sign up for a non competing service vendor. Those citizens who were taking the initiative to take their own recycling and trash to the landfill were targets for Gantt’s expansion of government and enforcement of mandatory government arranged service.

    Fortunately the citizens objected loudly thus resulting in Gantt’s retreat. Since the county arranges the contract for this vendor, I would suggest directing your complaints to your commissioner as the vendor is more accountable to county government as you probably realize now.

    If you do not mind taking a little more initiative, there is a free recycling center at Woodfin, and you can carry your trash to the Buncombe Landfill where there are bins for bagged trash and recycling just inside the entrance. The fee is $1.00 per medium white trash bag, and $2.00 per large black trash bag. Recycling there is free also. There is a certain amount of freedom and satisfaction that may be your reward by seeking an alternative solution. The drive along the French Broad River is quite good as well. Good luck.

    • Lulz

      Try the city where they cut back on services and still continue to defraud people. Bothwell admitted that in another post here. It’s not about ensuring taxpayer’s needs are met. It more like making sure that those on the receiving end continue to vote those in who promise them the most money.

    • luther blissett

      “But, this is the catch, it usually always comes with only one option of how you receive that service.”

      All this time I’ve been turning on the faucet to get water and I’ve been blind to the absence of competition. And darn it that I don’t get to choose between different firefighting crews, because that “Gangs of New York” experience seems fun.

      If you want to drive from Fairview to the Buncombe landfill, it’s a round trip of 50 miles. A good thing, then, that gasoline is free.

      • Stan Hawkins

        Yes, freedom comes to those who make some effort. Perhaps a nice drive along the river on the way to a recycling center or the landfill every 3-6 weeks may do a soul some good. With good planning stretching out your trips, your cash flow may be greater and you will have more options.

        Who knows, the potential money in your pocket by not paying the county cronies can instead be spent on some local business along the way. That sounds like freedom to me.

        After all, are we not for promoting business along the river?

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Hire your own pick up service and don’t depend on government … you can also take your own trash and recycling off also …

  3. Concerned Citizen

    I never had a problem with Waste Pro or with GDS. How soon ppl forget. Everyone started complaining that they had poor service with GDS when their contract was about to go in the county had bids for service and they went with Waste Pro. GDS had asked for a raise in rates as well. The truth is ppl that complain about their trash not getting picked up are typically one of two types. There’s the ones who don’t put it out the night before and lazily try to pu it out before they run the next day. Then there’s those that put it out the night before in bags instead of in a container so animals can tear it open and it’s strew everywhere. It isn’t their responsibility to monitor your house for when you decide to put out your trash after they have already ran. It surely isn’t their responsibility to pick up your nasty trash… it’s yours! As far as the proposal to include it in your taxes that was to make illegal dumping disappear. That costs taxpayers money to clean up. Making everyone pay for their own trash pickup takes that cost way down. That just leaves lazy people throwing it out of their windows or blowing out of their truck. That’s where I for one like seeing some old school chain gang trash pick up. As well as some tickets with some high ass fines for littering!

    • Stan Hawkins

      That’s a very fine summation of well, not much other than casting doubt on the motives of many good citizens who would object to; Your Words – “Making Everyone Pay.”

      Freedom allows this citizen to decide, at least in this case, how I choose to spend my dollars while not having those same dollars go through the, how should a say it? Questionable sticky hands in county government. I take great satisfaction in that little victory. It feels really good.

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