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City drops requirement on logo trash bags, effective immediately; implementing possible automated system could take six months, councilman says

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ) 

Columbia residents longer need to use the city-issued trash bags.

The Columbia City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Monday to eliminate the required use of official city-provided trash bags for residential curbside collections, as well as the provision that the City provide trash bags.

Effective immediately, Columbia Solid Waste residential curbside customers are permitted to place their garbage in any trash bag for curbside collection. There is not a limit on the amount of bags you can put outside as long as they do not weigh more than 50 pounds, Ward 5 Councilman Matt Pitzer told ABC17 News on Tuesday.

"Now, this is just one step toward a more comprehensive solution to all of our trash problems,” Pitzer said. “And then the next step we'll be looking at implementing some of the details on an automated or roll-cart system. But that's going to take another, you know, at least three-to-six months just to work through that."

Solid Waste will continue to provide vouchers that can be exchanged for trash bags until the current stock of bags is depleted, the city said in a Tuesday press release. Solid Waste expects vouchers will be mailed in January, and customers will be able to redeem them at the same local participating distributors.

There is no change to the recycling program. Customers will continue to place mixed containers (aluminum cans, tin cans, glass and plastic) in blue bags. Mixed fibers (paper and cardboard) can be bundled in a box or a paper bag.

For the past year, the city has been looking into alternatives to the city-logo bags. The solid waste department recommended the city end the mandatory use of city-logo bags. Feedback received from the community showed the majority were in favor of getting rid of city recycling and logo bags.

The city spent $1.5 million annually on the program and according to Pitzer, it didn’t make sense to continue the program when so many people were unhappy with it.

"I think it's also important for us to be responsive to a program that we put in place that clearly isn't working," he said at the meeting on Monday. "And I think it's important that we are starting to take steps towards a more comprehensive solution."

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Ryan Shiner

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