Trash hauler Republic Services started picking up recyclables Monday as the first phase of taking over Toledo's collection refuse collection.
"They started with only recyclables," said Toledo Director of Public Service Ed Moore. "The city is not picking up any more recyclables. That is part of the first phase for the transition."
The Bell administration originally said the switch would occur Sept. 1. Mr. Moore said it would have been "total chaos" to transition the entire city refuse and recyclable collection on a single day.
The company begins picking up half of Toledo trash on Aug. 1 and the rest of the city's garbage on Aug. 15. Waste still will go to the city-owned Hoffman Road Landfill.
With the switch over, residents' trash collection day will remain the same as it is today -- meaning there will be no more "Leap Forward" days with city holidays, Mr. Moore said.
The switch to a private trash hauler comes after months of debate. The change was made through an agreement with Lucas County to contract with the private hauler. Most Toledo residents will pay $8.95 a month, up from the current $8.50 monthly rate. Those who qualify for a homestead exemption on their taxes will continue to pay $5 a month.
Although the change translates into a 5 percent price increase for most residents, county and city officials have stressed a reward-based recycling program that is included in the deal with Republic Services as a way for residents to recoup at least some -- and possibly all -- of their annual trash collection fees.
David Vossmer, Republic Services general manager, said there were no problems with the initial switch Monday morning.
The first households to get Republic Services were in West Toledo.
"A phase-in makes it easier for the transition," Mr. Vossmer said. "The city continues to handle the billing for people."
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell said the move will save $2.8 million this year and up to $6 million annually starting next year.
The city has sent layoff notices to the 66 city trash collectors whose jobs will be eliminated. They can begin "bumping" into other open city jobs Tuesday and Wednesday.
The city intends to sell its fleet of 40 garbage trucks to Republic, which was formerly Allied Waste, for $8 million.
Republic Services operates 348 collection companies in 40 states as well as in Puerto Rico.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6171.