Ask NOW: Will residents soon have to take trash to the curb?

An Advanced Disposal truck arrives at the county’s recycling facility. Waukesha County plans to switch to a single sort system in 2015, meaning residents would no longer have to separate paper from other recyclables.

An Advanced Disposal truck arrives at the county’s recycling facility. Waukesha County plans to switch to a single sort system in 2015, meaning residents would no longer have to separate paper from other recyclables.

Jan. 17, 2014

Is there a rumor you'd like tracked down? Rory Linnane answers some of the mysteries of life in Brookfield and helps solve everyday problems.

Are changes coming to trash pick-up in city of Brookfield?

Question: A Brookfield resident asked me if it is true that, in the near future, city residents will have to place their trash at the road for pick-up, and that the trash will not be picked up if it is close to the garage? She wondered, if it is true, are there going to be any public meetings regarding this situation?

Answer: The short answers: maybe and yes.

With Waukesha County preparing to switch to a single-sort recycling system by January 2015, there could be changes coming to the way Brookfield residents dispose of their trash and recyclables.

Currently, residents sort their recycling, separating out the paper, and put it outside their house with the trash. A hauler, Advanced Disposal, goes up each driveway and workers dump the buckets by hand into their trucks to take the loads to Waukesha County's recycling facility.

By accepting unsorted recyclables, county officials hope residents will find recycling easier and contribute more materials, which would bring in more revenue for the program. But more recycling could mean bigger containers. And bigger containers might mean haulers won't be able to do pick-ups by hand.

Director of Public Works Tom Grisa said Advanced Disposal would not be able to continue up-the-drive service for containers greater than 32 gallons. The company would need to use an automated system to dump the containers into its trucks from the curb. This could mean residents would have to wheel their trash and recycling bins to the road, which has some residents worried.

"Since my husband and I are in our late 70s early 80s, as are many of our friends and neighbors, it would really be a real hardship for us to haul our trash out to the street," one resident wrote to Ask NOW. "Our driveway is 55 to 60 feet long and it would be extremely difficult for us, even if the weather is nice, to get our trash out to the street. I feel that a lot of consideration should be given to the senior citizens of Brookfield."

Grisa said those concerns will be considered, and residents will have opportunities to weigh in before the city makes any decisions. The city could decide to keep its current service, with the only modification being the ability to mix paper in with everything else.

If the city decides to go with larger containers, another option could be to have haulers walk up driveways to carry the trash and recycling bins to the curb, where they can use the automated lift to their trucks. This service is not currently provided by waste haulers, but Grisa said Advanced Disposal would consider it.

At the city Plan Commission meeting Monday, members recommended participating in a county-facilitated request for proposals from area haulers to see what options are available at what cost. The city will not be tied to any of the proposals that come out of the process.

Grisa said the proposals are due in May, and the city will have an opportunity to discuss its options during the next few months. Officials plan to schedule a public information meeting during that time to present options and get feedback from residents. A decision should be made by September in order to plan for the 2015 budget.

Email Rory Linnane with your question at

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