I-Team 8

Public Works: Private trash companies to blame for missed pickup

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In certain Indianapolis neighborhoods, recycling bins have not been touched for weeks. At the same time, trash has also been sitting for weeks.

The Department of Public Works says they have a handle on things, but not everyone is convinced.  

I-Team 8 sent a drone out to comb the alleys of the near-north side and we found plenty of trash and recycling bins untouched and in some cases spilling over.  

Wes Daughtry is one of those who is not entirely certain his trash and recycling will be picked up on time or at all. He and his neighbors have had to wait weeks for the trashman to arrive.

“So they had a couple incidents where they have just missed it,” Daughtry said. “They have come down our service alley and just missed it.”   

“I think it is clear that they are having issues getting workers like some many other places in the era of COVID,” he added. 

In a statement sent to I-Team 8, the Public Works says, “While increased trash volumes and staffing issues — each exacerbated by the pandemic in their own way — continue to be problematic city-wide, an increase in missed trash calls over the past several weeks has been seen primarily in solid waste districts managed by Republic Services.” 

Public Works has parceled out large sections of the cities trash to private companies. According to Public Works, Republic has held a contract with the city for more than 20 years. Almost all of the recycling bins I-Team 8 found were Republic bins, most of them full or overflowing.

I-Team 8 also found Public Works trash bins in the same condition.  

Aside from the trash not being picked up, the frustration has been the lack of communication from the city.  

“I have actually reached out to the mayor’s action line and usually they are responsive and they just denied the request, so clearly they have had some issues,” Daughtry said. 

Public Works and Republic said in a joint statement they have identified the issues causing the delays, including staffing, shortage of truck parts and the continued increase in solid waste volume. 

Indy DPW and Republic Services are hopeful these adjustments will resolve the situation and result in the collection of all routes moving forward. 

DPW says they will ask Republic to reimburse the city for not providing service.