MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Waste Pro, which has faced criticism from Memphis residents and city officials over missed trash collection in parts of the city, says it wants to end its contract with Memphis.
The company said in a statement Friday that it will not participate in a future bid for the contract with the city. The company said it is “open to transitioning the service in a smooth manner.”
“It has been our experience that City staff and other groups do prefer waste collection to be a government responsibility, not a private company’s. We believe that in order for a private company to effectively provide this service, both the company and the City must work together,” Waste Pro said. “Our experience clearly showed that was not the relationship in the City of Memphis. We did not realize that the relationships with the previous contractor ended in the exact same caustic fashion that exists today.”
Mayor Jim Strickland told WREG he had not seen Waste Pro’s news release and only learned about its contents from media outlets.
”If they want to enter any kind of amendment that ought to contact us directly,” said Mayor Strickland. “What I want them to do is stop issuing press releases and pick up the garbage. Pick it up on the day it’s supposed to be picked up and work overtime if you can’t do it. They did not work this past Sunday even though they are behind. They need to pickup the garbage.”
Waste Pro services trash collection for parts of Memphis including Cordova and Hickory Hill, but residents have long complained about missed collections, as they also did about Inland Waste, a previous contractor that serviced those areas. Waste Pro took over servicing those areas after the city canceled its contract with Inland Waste in 2018.
Several city council members have called for ending the contract with Waste Pro, and the missed collections had the city’s mayor apologizing to residents. The city’s 311 system logged around 2,000 complaints of missed trash pickup in 30 days, mostly in the areas serviced by Waste Pro.
The city has given Waste Pro an April 4th deadline to correct the problem. Mayor Strickland said if they don’t the city could terminate their contract or make them pay for city employees, and a private partner brought in to supplement their work