9.11.2023-Garbage Service Improvements
Recording of the public meeting at the Library brought to you by our friends at the Billings Public Library and Community 7 TV!
City of Billings Announces Solid Waste Improvements
The City of Billings is thrilled to unveil a series of solid waste improvements aimed at enhancing efficiency, maintaining affordability, and ultimately extending the life of the landfill. Scheduled for implementation the week of Monday, September 11th, 2023, these changes are set to elevate the city's cleanliness and sustainability to new heights. We understand that change can be daunting, but rest assured, these updates are designed to make our city shine brighter than ever before. Here's what you can expect:
1. Improved Efficiency – A new garbage day
As our city continues to grow, the residential garbage collection routes became a rather colorful mosaic art piece as shown on the current route map. Instead of collecting in various areas of Billings every day of the week, we’ll move to a collection system optimized by zone as shown in the NEW route map. It makes sense, right? This means 85% of Billings residents will get a new garbage day. Residents will be notified of their new garbage day through mail, phone messaging, email, and an informational sticker placed on their garbage carts prior to the official change. To avoid any confusion, the weekly yard waste collection and monthly cardboard recycling collection will also be scheduled on the same day of the week. The new route map will be readily available on our website and social media platforms, allowing residents to conveniently search for their service day by typing in their address. This transition enhances operational efficiency, reduces delays, and ensures long-term affordability for our residents. To make sure you receive important notifications about service changes, please update your contact information with us online.
2. One Step Toward Recycling – Cardboard will be collected and recycled monthly with no additional charge
On average, Billings area residents generate 6.32 lbs. of garbage per person per day, surpassing the EPA national average of 4.9 lbs. Shockingly, over half of the materials ending up in our landfill are compostable or recyclable, including 12% cardboard and 27% yard waste. To extend the lifespan of our landfill and delay costly expansions, we are introducing a cardboard collection program. Starting the week of Monday, September 11th, residents can place a stack of clean cardboard next to their garbage cans on their designated garbage day for monthly collection. This service incurs no additional charge. The collected cardboard will be either composted at the landfill or recycled. To assist residents in understanding the program, we will provide visual aids such as pictures of model cardboard stacks, a color-coded calendar indicating the assigned cardboard collection day of the month, and informative video clips demonstrating proper cardboard stacking techniques and what items should not be included (e.g., greasy pizza boxes).
3. Tailored Service Options - Introducing the 64-gallon garbage container
Starting July 24, 2023, Billings residents will have the opportunity to request a 64-gallon garbage container, offering a monthly savings of $4 when compared to the standard 96-gallon container. This empowering initiative allows residents to choose the service level that best suits their needs. Orders can be placed by filling out an online form or by contacting our friendly Account Service team members at 406.657.8315 (option 3).
4. Extra garbage collection will move to call in only
Did you know that approximately 50% of the extra garbage collected through the current extras program is cardboard? With the introduction of curbside cardboard collection, residents will have additional space in their garbage cans, which will eliminate or reduce extras for property owners. If there’s extra garbage on occasion, residents can request collection by filling out an online request form or by contacting our friendly Account Service team members at 406.657.8315 (option #3). The charge for extra garbage collection is $5 per item. An item must be less than 75 lbs. One item is equivalent to a 32-gallon container or approximately 2 feet by 2 feet. For example, up to three typical 13-gallon tall kitchen garbage bags filled with household waste is considered one item. The bulky collection program is also still available for larger items. For households frequently generating extra garbage, we encourage considering the addition of a second 96-gallon garbage container for a monthly fee of $4.50.
5. A Cleaner City – Solid waste must be bagged and tied
All garbage in the black solid waste containers must be bagged and tied. This helps prevent garbage from blowing out of our garbage collection trucks and out of containers on windy days, resulting in a cleaner city. Remember that yard waste placed in the green containers must not be bagged so it is compostable.
These solid waste improvements signify a major step forward for the City of Billings by embracing efficiency and environmental stewardship while maintaining affordability. We appreciate your support during this transition and will be happy to answer any questions in addition to the Q&As below.
Q1. When can I order a 64-gallon garbage can?
Starting July 24, 2023, orders can be placed by filling out an online form or by contacting our friendly Account Service team members at 406.657.8315 (option 3).
Q2. When will my 64-gallon garbage container be delivered?
Mid to late August.
Q3. When can I start paying for less if I get a 64-gallon garbage can?
The new rate will go into effect the week of Monday, September 11th, 2023, and will be reflected on the October bill.
Q4. Can I have an additional 64-gallon garbage container?
No. Residents can have up to two 96-gallon containers, but no additional 64-gallon or 96-gallon containers will be provided to residents that have a 64-gallon container.
Q5. How will the cardboard be recycled?
A portion of the cardboard will be recycled through local partners and shipped to other vetted partners. The rest will be composted right at the new composting facility once construction wraps up later this fall at the Billings Regional Landfill.
Q6. What if my neighbors put their garbage in my container?
Step one is to talk to them. If that doesn't work, please contact us at 406.657.8285.
Q7. What if I have extra garbage that doesn’t fit into my garbage can?
If there’s extra garbage on occasion, residents can request collection by filling out an online request form or by contacting our friendly Account Service team members at 406.657.8315 (option 3). The charge for extra garbage collection is $5 per item. An item must be less than 75 lbs. and can consist of up to three typical 13-gallon tall kitchen garbage bags filled with household waste only or in a container less than 2 ft x 2 ft (32-gallon equivalent). If residents have larger items, the Account Service team can be contacted for a bulky item pickup. The fee for bulky items is $55 for 1-5 items, $110 for 6-10 items, and $165 for more than 10 items. For households frequently generating extra garbage, we encourage considering the addition of a second 96-gallon garbage container for a monthly fee of $4.50.
Q8. Would there still be fall leaves and post storm clean up events?
Yes, we’ll continue those clean up events.
Q9. What if the wind blows my cardboard stack away?
A good practice is to keep a rock handy for weighing things down. Or use one large box to contain all of the smaller, broken-down boxes.
Q10. What about the elderly and disabled?
If you are elderly or disabled, you may qualify for assistance moving your solid waste carts to and from your collection area as provided for in the Billings Montana City Code (BMCC). Please apply for carry out service at no additional charge by submitting a Medical Necessity Form completed by a Heath Care Professional.
Q11. Will there still be green barrel collection?
Yes, yard waste will still be collected weekly between April and the end of November. Each residence is allowed up to two green containers for no additional charge.
Q12. Can I set out all paper and cardboard for collection?
No. Only brown cardboard, thin brown box board (soda box, clean pizza box, etc.), moving/mailing boxes, and cardboard egg cartons are accepted.
Q13. Why doesn't the City offer a full recycling program?
We looked into doing a full recycling program. It is very costly which would raise the garbage rates significantly from what they are now. Processing mixed recyclables costs at least twice as much as single stream cardboard - especially given the lack of market for most of the recyclables. And, if you look at glass for instance, it only makes up 2% of the waste stream so while it helps to divert as much as we can, the cost to separate it out compared to the benefit of reducing 2% just isn’t cost effective - yet. As the markets improve and the cost of building new cells increases, it may become a good option.