It is encouraging to hear Morristown is considering a garbage pickup system for its residents. While municipal-run pickup is certainly an option for some communities, in some instances, privatizing waste and recycling pickup is actually a more economically beneficial and feasible plan.
With the economy still on the rebound, many communities are looking for ways to save money and focus their budgets on critical services like police and fire protection. One way is to privatize other municipal services, and more communities are moving to private waste collection now than at any point in the last two decades, saving between 20 and 40 percent of costs on average, according to the Reason Foundation.
Privatizing waste collection also protects municipalities from associated risks of general liability and environmental compliance. In terms of safety, the U.S. Department of Labor has found that local governments overseeing waste services have safety incidents occur at four times the rate of private-sector waste collection companies.
The private sector also has more experience in handling waste and recycling commodities and better access to new technology, innovation and trained workforces. This allows for greater efficiency and less environmental impact than is typical for municipal-run systems.
We encourage Mayor Shatraw and Superintendent Crosby to at least consider private waste haulers as an option when planning for future garbage collection in Morristown.
Sharon H. Kneiss
The writer is president and CEO of the Environmental Industry Associations.