Waste Pro lost its contract Oct. 1 to pick up trash and recyclables in Harrison County and four of its cities, but the company has failed to pick up most of the trash cans and recycle bins customers placed on the curb, making them potential projectiles in a looming tropical storm.
The Harrison County Utility Authority, which switched trash and recycling contractors, has been unable to get a pickup schedule from Waste Pro, Executive Director Donald Scharr said.
“We’ve had phone calls,” Scharr said. “I’ve sent emails and asked them for their removal plan. It started back in mid-August and we’ve just not gotten any firm plan. That’s still where we are.”
In fact, Scharr said, Waste Pro pointed out that their contract with the utility authority does not include a collection plan for the cans and bins.
Scharr said the new six-year contract with Team Waste for garbage and recycling pickup requires that collection plans for cans be submitted 90 days before the contract expires. Waste Pro will continue to collect garbage and recycling in Gulfport under a separate contract.
Waste Pro’s chief operating officer, Tim Herman, said the company has started picking up cans in coordination with Team Waste. They have a total of 55,000 cans to collect.
“We do not have a good working relationship with HCUA, particularly Donald Scharr,” Herman said Friday afternoon. “ So we don't and won't communicate with Mr. Scharr's office.”
Herman said he doesn’t expect to get back all the company’s 68,000 recycling bins, because customers often use them for other things. He said only 15 percent of Harrison County customers actually recycle.
Herman said the company will be picking up 1,000 to 2,000 cans a day on weekdays. He hopes to publicize a schedule soon. He advised that residents should bring in their cans, and avoid putting any rubbish at the curb, ahead of a potential tropical storm or hurricane this weekend.
“From a safety standpoint,” he said, “never put anything at the curb before a hurricane.”
Pass Christian Mayor Chip McDermott, faced with Cruisin’ The Coast traffic, a threatening storm and empty trash cans on plenty of curbs, said:
“We’ve got them all over the place, and its a mess. I’ve talked to the guy a couple of times and they say they’re going to get them.
“Their cans are worth some money. They have picked up some. I’m at their mercy.”