Isle of Wight County residents will see savings from garbage contractor change

Published 5:29 pm Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Isle of Wight County residents who contract with Bay Disposal for curbside trash collection should see a cost savings come July when the county changes contractors.

Isle of Wight supervisors voted unanimously on April 20 to offer a five-year exclusive franchise agreement to Waste Industries LLC, doing business as GFL Environmental.

Isle of Wight’s previous franchise agreement with Bay, which dates to 2013, had expired and was temporarily extended. The purpose of the franchise agreement, according to the county’s website, is to provide county residents living outside the towns of Smithfield and Windsor with a “competitive rate” for procuring curbside garbage collection in lieu of having to take waste to one of the county’s eight refuse and recycling centers.

According to Isle of Wight Solid Waste Manager Michael Etheridge, GFL was one of three companies to respond to the county’s recent request for proposals.

GFL proposed offering curbside collection for $14 per month, which is lower than the $17.96-per-month figure Bay quoted for renewing its contract. A third bidder, Hilco Disposal, quoted $18.36 per month.

The $14-per-month rate is what curbside customers would pay directly to GFL. In exchange for exclusivity, GFL has agreed to pay the county $1 per customer per month.

GFL’s proposal specifies an incremental rise in its customer rate annually, so that by 2028 customers are paying $17.02 per month. The contract specifies a term of July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2028, with the option to extend through June 30, 2033.

According to Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson, once the contract is fully executed the county will work with Bay and GFL to coordinate a transition in service. In the next few weeks, information will be posted to the county’s website and on its social media outlets on how new and existing customers can subscribe to GFL’s service, Robertson said.

The change applies only to garbage collection and only to residents not residing in one of Isle of Wight’s two towns. Smithfield and Windsor each still separately contract with Bay for curbside collection.

Recycling, which is only available at the eight refuse and recycling centers, is limited to steel or aluminum cans and some types of cardboard. The county takes the collected cardboard to Butler Paper Recycling in Suffolk and the cans to Carrollton metal.

Last fall, Isle of Wight ended its single-stream recycling program, where paper, glass and plastics were commingled in a single container.

While some of the county’s collected trash gets incinerated at the Wheelabrator waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth, “the cheapest alternative is still to landfill waste,” said County Administrator Randy Keaton.

Wheelabrator is scheduled to close June 30, 2024. Wheelabrator has a $10 million contract to supply power to Norfolk Naval Shipyard that the Navy plans to end in favor of generating its own electricity from a natural gas plant. Wheelabrator officials estimated in 2020, upon learning of the impending end of the Navy contract, that the plant would be unable to continue operating absent the Navy revenue.