City moves to automated solid waste collection

By Mike Barhorst - Contributing Columnist

On Oct. 1, the city of Sidney will begin its new automated solid waste collection system. Republic Services, the contractor selected to provide our refuse collection service, began delivering containers citywide on Sept. 21.

As a part of the program, each residence, with the exception of low-volume bag users, have been provided one 96-gallon cart for refuse collection and one 65-gallon cart for recycling collection. Residents do have the option of reducing the size of their waste collection container to either a 65- or 35-gallon cart. To make this change, residents must call Republic Services (800-686-1732).

For low-volume bag users, the option to purchase special bags in rolls of 10 is also available with varied recycling options. Low-volume users are still required to purchase at least 10 bags each year.

Although an abbreviated schedule was initially discussed, residents will notice no change in the solid waste collection schedule; it will continue on its present five-day-a-week cycle. Recycling pickup will be provided every other week, starting Monday, Oct. 12, as detailed on the calendar provided by Republic during cart delivery.

In some cases, the calendar and associated information was not supplied. Republic has assured us that the calendar will be mailed at their expense to those customers within the next couple of days.

The calendar is also available on the city’s website ( As in previous years, if your collection day falls on or after New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas, your collection day will be delayed until the following day.

Bulk-item collection will remain unchanged. Residents may continue to put one large item per week out for collection at no additional charge. Residents with multiple (bulk) items are required to call Republic (800-686-1732) at least 24 hours in advance to make arrangements for pickup and payment.

New to the solid waste collection service this year is the option for carryout service. Residents who are physically unable to transport containers to the curb and have no other household members able to transport the containers to the curb can have the containers picked up beside the house at no additional charge. Residents must contact Republic Services for an application for carryout service and they will determine program eligibility.

Residents who do not meet the elderly/handicapped carryout service eligibility can pay an additional $14-per-month fee to have Republic Services take their container(s) to the street. In all cases however, yard waste and bulk items must be taken to the curb for collection. Republic does not provide that service.

For those users on the cart system, there will be no need to purchase yard waste tags from the city; the cost of this service is now included in the monthly collection charge. Low-volume bag users will need to continue to purchase the yard waste collection stickers, available at City Hall for $1 per sticker. Yard waste will continue to be collected on Fridays only between May 1 and Nov. 30.

Monthly collection of yard waste by the city of Sidney begins the second week of December and continues through the second week of April. During this period, all yard waste should be out for pickup on Mondays. In all cases, yard waste must be contained in a box, trash can, biodegradable bag or bundled for pickup. Bundles of yard waste material must be wrapped with rope or heavy twine (no wire) and cannot exceed 60 pounds. In addition, tree branches and brush must be 2 inches or less in diameter and 4 feet or less in length.

I would like to encourage residents to recycle as much of their refuse as possible. Details as to what is and what is not recyclable are included in the information provided by Republic Services. Everything that we recycle saves valuable resources and saves landfill space, allowing our children and their children the opportunity to inherit a better planet.

In addition, refuse collection continues to increase in cost in no small part because landfill space is rapidly filling up, and no one wants a landfill in their backyard. You can help keep future costs lower by recycling as much of your refuse as possible.

City Council looked at all options available before electing to enter into a long-term contract with Republic Services. The length of the contract helped to keep the costs lower over a longer period of time.

Republic will collect your no-longer-needed recycling bins and trash cans/containers. Simply place them at the curb on your normal pickup date with a sign that simply says “PLEASE TAKE” and Republic Services will remove them and if possible, recycle them. Residents may also keep the bins and use them for yard waste, eliminating the need to purchase biodegradable bags.

For additional details on the city of Sidney’s solid waste collection and recycling programs, please visit the city’s website ( You should also feel free to contact your ward council member, or any of the at-large council members.

By Mike Barhorst

Contributing Columnist

This is one of a series of columns by Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst dealing with issues of interest to residents.

This is one of a series of columns by Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst dealing with issues of interest to residents.