GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) Grand Rapids is changing how it picks up your garbage. Starting this week, the city is going to a "pay as you throw" system.
That means there will be no monthly billing process. Residents will only be charged for each time they put their cart out on the curb. Some residents could save money, but for those who produce a lot of garbage, it could cost more.
The city will do away with bags and tags and start using carts. Residents will choose between three different sizes. Ruth Prins says she doesn't need much. "We'd probably get a small one, I think. We're pretty good at recycling." Prins says her family of four produces less garbage than others in the neighborhood.
You can put garbage out once a month, bi-weekly, or once a week. "That'll work for us. We only put garbage out every other week, so that's being good."
Here's how the costs break down: You can choose a 32 gallon cart that for $2 per trip, a 64 gallon cart for $4 per trip, or a 96 gallon cart for $6 per trip.
The city says the carts are sturdier than bags and will control odors better. It's similar to what private companies are already doing. Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom says, "It's competitive with private sector pricing."
If you choose to go with a private company, here's how the prices break down: In most cases, you can only get a 96 gallon cart and it's picked up every week. On average, the cost is $16-17 dollars a month.
Sundstrom says, "I think with our new program, most will fit into this one (64 gallon). And with some work, you'll be able to get into this one (32 gallon)."
Residents can continue to use their bags and tags until they are gone, but after that, they will be required to sign up for the new program. You can go to www.GRCity.us/refuse.