Some Stark County residents get a choice of who hauls their trash, what day it’s hauled from the curb and how much to pay.
A pair of fuzzy dice and a tree-shaped air freshener dangle in the front window of the large yellow garbage truck lumbering through a quiet Irish Oaks subdivision in Jackson Township.
Driver Jeffery Fitzgerald grabs the wheel, watching his mirrors and moving slowly as his “hanger, ” Duane Geer, stands atop a short metal grate on the back of the moving truck. The 1997 Volvo labeled “Vaughn’s Refuse: Pride in Perfect Service” is the company’s only truck.
When it stops, Geer jumps off, walks quickly up the long driveway to a garage door, where a trash bag awaits. He returns, hurling it into the back of the truck.
His trek up the driveway is part of the company’s “walk-out service, ” he explains, typically reserved for older customers who have a hard time getting their trash to the curb. It’s the kind of personal service larger trash companies don’t typically provide.
Stark County has more than 40 registered garbage haulers, including some one-person operations. A vast majority handle residential trash. Others handle commercial waste.
“It’s very, very competitive in the waste-hauling business, ” said David Held, who is North Canton’s mayor and executive director of the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District, the agency that oversees the planning of the area’s waste disposal and recycling.
STARK TRASH HAULERS
Cities such as Canton and North Canton have exclusive contracts — usually with larger trash companies — to haul away residents’ garbage.
But people outside city limits have more choices.
Those trash haulers have different and often varied prices.
A larger company operating in the Lake and Marlboro townships charges around $70 every three months to pick up a single container of residential trash weekly. The price increases as gas prices rise.
Bailey Waste Service, at 120 E. Main St. in Beach City, picks up trash in the areas of Beach City, Wilmot and Brewster for $14 to $18 a month, said Francis Bailey, owner and sanitation engineer of the business for 37 years. That’s an average of $42 to $45 for three months of service, “depending on how much garbage you have, ” Bailey said. The more garbage that needs picked up, the higher the price.
Vaughn Vukovich, who owns Vaughn’s Refuse, had been charging $18 a month for trash pickup in Jackson, Lake and Plain townships and in the Hartville and Manchester areas. He raised the price by a dollar as of April 1 “to cover the extra fuel, ” he said. He doesn’t provide the trash can, but there’s no limit on household trash.
WHY PRICE VARIES
Prices vary with the larger companies such as Republic Waste, Waste Management and J&J Recycling, too, depending on where a customer lives and how far the truck has to travel to the landfill, Held said.
All trucks deposit trash at one of three area landfills.
“Some go to Countywide Landfill, which is owned by Republic. Some wastehaulers go to American Landfill in Waynesburg, which is owned by Waste Management. Kimble (Transfer and Recycling) owns Kimble Landfill and J&J Refuse, ” Held said. “Usually companies that own landfills also own their own waste hauling.”
Trash haulers are charged a tipping fee to unload into a landfill.
“For $30 a ton, $4.75 goes to the Ohio EPA and another $1 or $2 goes to the Joint Solid Waste District, ” Held said.
Held said most of the independent or smaller trash haulers go to the Kimble transfer station in Canton.
Landfill companies also charge different rates to accept the trash. One business may pay $30 a ton and another may pay $28 a ton, Held said.
“It’s just like anything else or any other competitive business: You could buy a pair of pants at Kohl’s for one price and at Sears for another price, ” he said.
“In North Canton we get curbside recycling every week, unlimited trash hauling… You can put as much trash out on the curb as you have and we’ll pick it up, ” he said, adding that the rate is $11.50 per month. Canton’s rate is $35.70 for two months of service, according to the city sanitation department’s billing office.
The smaller haulers can’t violate the city contracts, so they typically operate outside the cities.
Bailey, who has an occasional helper, said he doesn’t advertise. His business is based on “word-of-mouth.” He has one truck.
Vukovich, who’s been in business since 1988, also has only one truck with three full-time employees and one part-timer.
Trash service in Stark County is “very localized, ” said Philip Revlock, sanitarian in the solid waste unit of the Stark County Health Department.
“A lot of these (smaller trash hauling businesses) have a certain section of the county that they run.”
The Stark County Health Department does not have the authority to license hauling businesses, but they do license the trash trucks to ensure the trucks meet a health standard.
“Their trucks have to be watertight, so they’re not going through a neighborhood leaking stuff, ” said William Franks, health commissioner. The health department also requires that the trucks have no rust holes in the sides or bottom and that it use proper covers “so trash isn’t flying across the county as they’re going down the road, ” he said.
The trucks, called packers because they pack in garbage as it is dumped into the rear of the truck, are inspected annually, beginning May 1 of each year.
The health department also charges an inspection fee “to prevent health nuisances from happening, ” said Kirk Norris, environmental health director at the county health department.