New garbage pickup program doesn’t seem to be working, SLC councilman says


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SALT LAKE CITY — It might be a good time to sell your house in Salt Lake City.

However, Patrick Brown says it’s not a good time to get rid of all the stuff he wants to throw away from his old house.

“They eliminated a really good program that worked for something that doesn’t work,” said Brown, while sitting on his front porch in Sugar House.

Brown is talking about Salt Lake City’s new “Call to Haul” program which replaces the old Neighborhood Clean Up program.

Now, instead of putting your bulk garbage out on the streets on a certain day, residents call the city to arrange a bulk garbage pickup.

The problem is, right now, the backlog is about three months long.

"People when they’re trying to get rid of their stuff, that’s just too long of a timeline for residents,” said Brown. “There’s a reason there’s trash everywhere is because people are expecting the city to do its job and pick it up.”

Several streets in the Glendale and Rose Park areas have mattresses, couches, and other large garbage items lining the sides of streets.

Some are blaming the new “Call to Haul” program.

“It’s not working the way it was touted to work,” said Charlie Luke, who is a Salt Lake City councilman. “That’s problematic when you have a service that worked and you alter it to the point where it’s ineffective or becoming a burden to residents, that’s becoming problematic to me.”

Luke says he has heard from plenty of residents complaining about the new program, especially about the months-long wait to schedule a pickup.

Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke. Photo: KSL TV
Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke. Photo: KSL TV

“Garbage pickup is one of those core services and when something doesn’t work, you do hear about it. And we should,” said Luke.

Luke thinks it might be time to look at going back to Neighborhood Clean Up, even though it was eliminated, in part, as a way to try and fight illegal dumping.

“It was one of the reasons we needed to change and move away from Neighborhood Clean Up was the piles. We’re moving away from the piles,” said Sophia Nicholas, Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Division communications manager.

During an interview Tuesday, Nicholas said the city knew there would be some challenges this year as residents try out the new program.

Photo: Winston Armani, KSL TV
Photo: Winston Armani, KSL TV

“We understand that this year, 2018, was going to be a transition year, so we sent mailers to all the households that receive our services. We have put notices on curbside containers. We are excited about the new service, but there is a bit of a transition period,” said Nicholas.

However, illegal dumping seems to still be happening.

“What I would rather see is us going back to what we had done before that was successful, that did work. And if we need to have additional funding to add a spot cleanup crew, let’s do that,” said Luke. “It’s not that I don’t want to see ‘Call to Haul’ work. It’s just that I’m seeing that it’s not working.”

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero is an Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter for KSL-TV since 2004. He covers various topics and events but particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.

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