Six months after the city switched trash providers in a bid to save money, some residents are complaining about having to change recycling bins.

“It was not communicated very well,” said Geneva Champagne, who said she had a hard time getting a bin for her mother. “She missed the day they traded them all out and then it took a very, very long time to get her one.”

City officials Oct. 31 announced that starting Nov. 8, AmeriWaste workers would no longer pick up recyclables in open-top containers, which is what the city’s previous providers gave residents.

Crews began picking up and replacing the old 18-gallon open-top bins with 48-gallon closed-top bins Nov. 1, officials said.

The city hadn’t received many complaints about trash service for several months, but since that announcement, about a dozen residents have called, said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for the city.

But replacing the bins had always been part of the plan, Greer Osborne said.

“We wanted closed-top recycling bins, with all of the storms and wind in this area,” Greer Osborne said. “That was part of the contract with AmeriWaste.”

Residents can also still use clear, plastic bags to store recycling, Greer Osborne said.

AmeriWaste League City, a subsidiary of Alvin-based AmeriWaste Inc., on May 1 began working under a five-year solid waste collection contract with the city. The city council approved the contract in December.

The contract includes recycling pickup once a week.

City crews temporarily allowed residents to use the old bins, but that practice is ending, officials said.

Garbage crews offered residents the option to put out their recycling bins and they would replace them for free, Greer Osborne said.

But some residents opted to keep their original bins, Greer Osborne said.

Residents, however, argue that the process of getting new recycling bins has been overly complicated.

Netta Rapuano made several calls shortly after the service switch, but was placed on a waiting list, she said.

The switch has been somewhat complicated, but having closed-top bins does reduces the amount of trash flying loose, Champagne said.

Residential rates for garbage pickup increased from $13 a month to $16.05 under the new deal with AmeriWaste, but the rates would have gone up to $17.92 if the city stayed with Republic Services, city staff said.

AmeriWaste won the contract because of its qualifications and because it offered a deal that could save the city more than $7 million over five years, officials said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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