Talking trash: Shakopee City Council to discuss garbage collection

Shakopee City Council will open a conversation Tuesday night regarding the future of the city’s garbage and recycling collection system.

The city’s current provider, Republic Services, has a contract expiring at the end of 2021. Tuesday night’s discussion will center around whether to issue a request for proposals for organized collection in 2022 and beyond, or to further consider opening the system, which would allow residents to choose their own waste hauler.

“Shakopee has had an organized system since the early 1990’s but there may be other options that could serve the community better 30 years later,” Assistant City Administrator Nate Burkett wrote in a memo to councilors. “Staff does not recommend consideration of a completely open system, but a system where the city is divided into zones and assigned a ‘pick up day.’ The city would then license haulers and require them to perform services in the appropriate zone on the appropriate day of the week.”

Under this type of model, residents could choose any licensed hauler they want, as long as that hauler picks up their waste on the day of the week designated by their zone. The city of Eden Prairie operates using a similar model.

Burkett notes in his memo that the biggest roadblock to switching providers, whether in an organized or open model, will be the logistics of distributing refuse and recycling carts.

“At this point, city owned carts are intermingled in the community with Republic owned carts,” Burkett wrote. “In order to transition to another provider, all Republic carts would need to be collected, city carts would need to be consolidated and redistributed, and the new provider would have to distribute new carts.”

The city purchased carts in 2013 by taking out an interfund loan of just over $1 million. The interfund loan is being paid back with cart fee revenues, but there is still about $427,000 owed, according to Burkett. At its current pace, it would be paid off in June 2024.

Burkett lists the following questions in his memo as items for the city council to consider:

  • The city currently receives free refuse and recycling service at city facilities and recycling service in parks. How will that be paid for and managed in the future?
  • What is the likely impact to the cost of service for customers if the system is opened?
  • There is a perception that a large number of people would prefer to choose their own hauler, but is this true? 80% of people in the last community survey reported they were happy with their refuse and recycling services.
  • How will we ensure that we have equipment and labor for clean up day and special events?
  • How will we ensure that all residences and businesses have the required service?
  • How we will ensure that spills and debris as a result of refuse and recycling collection is cleaned up by the responsible party?
  • Are residents willing to tolerate multiple service providers on their street?

No formal action will be taken tonight. The council meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. To tune in via livestream, visit

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