Rumpke conducted a recycling audit on Monday, May 20, 2019, for some southwest Ohio communities, including Fairfield and Centerville.

Free trash dumping: Hamilton residents to receive vouchers for one carload at transfer site

Hamilton’s resident services director, Adam Helms, last week asked City Council for direction on the matter.

The city recently approved a five-year contract with Rumpke for curbside trash and recycling collection. In that contract, city staff negotiated for two days, designated at the city’s choice, that all residents could use to dispose of a carload or pickup-truck load of trash for free.

“We talked about it internally a little bit, and there were some concerns with possible traffic backups onto 3rd Street, with people lined up to use the two free transfer-station days, if we limited it to two days,” Helms said.

A line forms outside the Rumpke Refuse Transfer Station April 15 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

“I also had some concerns about the flexibility that provides for our residents to utilize the transfer station,” Helms said. “Me personally, I would love to try to utilize the two free transfer-station days, but I might be out of town on a Saturday, or the kids might have a baseball, or something like that.”

So Helms approached Rumpke and asked them to consider a voucher program, in which a resident would take a city utility bill and a driver’s license or other proof of their address, and they could drop off a load of garbage without a charge.

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“We asked for two vouchers,” Helms said. “Rumpke wanted to ease into this a little bit because when we negotiated the contract with them, the voucher wasn’t an option. And really, there’s no precedent for this type of voucher program.”

Helms said Rumpke wanted to use 2020 as a pilot program. Depending on how things go, “we could reconsider possibly another voucher — two vouchers in 2021 — or they might say, ‘This didn’t work out very well for us, we want to go back to the two free transfer-station days.’”

Vice Mayor Eric Pohlman said he preferred to go with a free voucher that’s good to use any day the transfer station is open.

“I’m with you,” Pohlman told Helms. “I’d rather have one voucher and have a flexible day,” rather than having only two designated days during the year.

The flexible timing of the vouchers can allow neighbors to work together, and help out someone such as an elderly neighbor by taking some of their trash at the same time, Helms said.

It can also give the city’s Department of Neighborhoods the ability to coordinate neighborhood cleanups and use the vouchers for free disposal, Helms said.

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“That’s a great idea,” Council Member Susan Vaughn said.

The council unanimously voted to go with one free transfer-station voucher on any date it is operating.

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