Problems pile up for Waste Pro customers as Memphis leaders look to take action

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several Memphis city council members say enough is enough after trash troubles in Hickory Hill and Cordova, where third-party company Waste Pro is used.

Extra city of Memphis crews have been brought in to work overtime to help with the problem. The city told us the latest backup is because of severe weather. 

At WREG, our emails and phones have been buzzing with people saying it’s been weeks since their trash has been picked up. Maverick Ford said he is tired of seeing the mess outside his Cordova home. 

“It’s been very frustrating,” Ford said. “Since October I walk my dog every day and every day the trash cans are out more often than not.”

There have been nearly 2,000 complaints to 311 in the last month for missed trash pickup.

Ford decided to take his concerns to the top. He shared a series of emails with us in which the director of the city’s solid waste division said extra city crews will work overtime to help with the problem.

The director said “Waste Pro collection services has been substandard. The allocation of city crews are a stop gap while we explore alternate solution sets.”  

City Councilman Chase Carlisle is ready to find a solution. He says trash pickup, or lack thereof, is a big issue he hears about, but acknowledges it’s not the easiest fix.

” This is not as easy as choosing a different toothpaste to use in the morning,” he said.

Carlisle along with councilman Ford Canale plans to introduce a resolution asking the mayor’s office to terminate the Waste Pro contract. 

“One, we would like the contract to be re-bid, basically saying we’re going to move away from Waste Pro and terminate that agreement. But as we are looking at re-bidding this proposal why not take an opportunity and look at certain area services within area E or all of it back in-house to solid waste,” he said.

In the meantime Mayor Jim Strickland apologized for the problem, saying in part, “The lack of service is completely unacceptable. I want you to know that we are actively working to find a long-term solution.”

We have emailed Waste Pro for a response but have not heard back. However, the company sent a news release noting that this week, the city of Germantown renewed its contract with the company to service 13,000 customers for the next five years.

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