Two New Orleans trash contractors gain routes after pickup lapse for which Richards Disposal has ‘regret’

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 10:02 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As uncollected garbage continues to pile up on many city streets, two trash contractors who recently began servicing about half the city were asked to expand into the other half, where Richards Disposal has failed to service residents.

City councilman Joe Giarrusso told Fox 8 on Monday night (Jan. 9) that IV Waste and Waste Pro have been given the green light to start picking up some of Richards’ routes in Uptown New Orleans, Mid-City and Algiers, starting Tuesday morning.

The change comes amid hundreds of customer complaints about city trash cans not being emptied as scheduled by Richards Disposal.

Richards acknowledged faltering service in a statement issued Monday night, blaming “severe staffing shortages” for its inability to keep up with scheduled route pickups. The company expressed “regret” for its challenges, but issued no apology and defended its performance.

“They are currently collecting the trash on missed routes within 24 hours of scheduled collection, as their contract requires,” Richards said of its employees. “We’ve made substantial progress and expect to be current on all routes in the coming days.”

Richards said it had called in company personnel from as far away as Baton Rouge and Jackson (Miss.) to attack the collection backlog Sunday with “strike crews.” It commended 22 drivers, 44 hoppers and eight supervisors who worked a total of more than 500 man-hours on Sunday in an attempt to catch up.

“We look forward to working cooperatively with the city council, mayor and all of city government to address the market conditions and other circumstances that affect timely trash collection,” company owner Alvin Richards said in the statement.

Related coverage

City of New Orleans announces ‘temporary’ reduction to once-weekly trash collection for most customers

Once-a-week trash pickup could become the new norm in New Orleans

New contracts promise more efficient but still once-a-week trash pickup in New Orleans

But patience with the faltering service seems to have run out. Mayor LaToya Cantrell apologized for the service failures over the weekend and promised temporary measures would be coming. IV Waste and Waste Pro recently replaced the unsatisfactory Metro Service Group in the city’s Zone 2 of New Orleans East, Gentilly and Lakeview. Giarusso said city officials were working with the same two companies to decide which of Richards’ Zone 1 routes would be taken over starting Tuesday.

It was unclear whether Richards would be stripped of the routes permanently or just temporarily. Nor was it known whether Richards will be paid its full monthly fee while the city hires IV Waste and Waste Pro for the additional route coverage.

The city’s contract with Richards runs through March 2024, though the Cantrell administration can terminate it early for cause.

Richards asked anyone who has missed trash collection in its service areas to call (504) 512-2951.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.