How much does Macon pay for trash, recycling pickup? Here’s a breakdown

Jason Vorhees

For the past few months, a Bibb County contractor has struggled to pick up residents’ garbage and recycling on time, if at all. County leaders have committed to finding solutions, hiring a second contractor and going as far as to ride with recycling teams to empty the blue plastic containers themselves.

After the consolidation of the City of Macon and Bibb County in January 2014, county officials decided to expand the contract with the private company, Advanced Disposal Services, to take over garbage collection for the entire county and later recycling in order to create a more uniform system and avoid the very issues county residents are experiencing now.

The county has paid Advanced Disposal Services millions of dollars since consolidation for garbage and recycling services, but the company, that was bought by Waste Management in October 2020, hasn’t been able to meet its contractual obligations.


The contract between ADS, and now Waste Management, and Bibb County allows either party to terminate the contract with a 60 day notice before the end of each fiscal year, which is June 30.

Macon-Bibb County and ADS signed the amendment to their contract to add yard waste to ADS’s responsibilities March 2, which added $2.7 million to the current contract of $6.07 million per year.

However, Chris Floore, the chief communications officer for Macon-Bibb, said the commission voted on the amendment several months before the delays started happening.

“Because they couldn’t keep up with the normal stuff, we never implemented the contract waiting for them to get caught up on their staff issues,” he said. “We’ve never started paying that extra money because they haven’t started providing the service.”

The amount individual homeowners pay to the county will remain the same, Floore said.

If the current contract is implemented, the county will pay Waste Management around $8.8 million per year assuming the company picks up garbage at 45,800 homes and apartments.

From July 2019 to June 2020, Macon-Bibb County collected nearly $11.8 million in garbage fees, according to data from the Macon-Bibb County Finance Department.

In 2016, the cost to residents of Macon-Bibb County for garbage, recycling and yard waste services increased to $20 per month or $240 per year. Under the current contract, ADS receives $16 per month for each housing unit.

Floore said the additional $4 goes to the Solid Waste Department to help pay for services, such as illegal dumping clean up, landfill management and Solid Waste crews.

Macon-Bibb County has paid nearly $34 million to ADS in the past five years. Here’s a breakdown of each year’s expenditures.

  • 2017: $5,956,149
  • 2018: $7,079,377
  • 2019: $6,987,245
  • 2020: $7,330,798
  • 2021 (as of June 17): $6,619,403

After seeing the delays in garbage and recycling pickup since the beginning of 2021, Commissioner Bill Howell said the county knew it would be difficult for ADS to meet the requirements for the amendment.

“It was obvious to us that they were not going to be able to handle any additional stuff because they were obviously short staffed, like everybody. It’s hard to hire people right now. They struggled and they struggled and they struggled, and I understand that but there comes a point where we have to do something different,” Howell said.


Although Waste Management refused to give an interview to The Telegraph, they provided a statement regarding the recent delays.

“Similar to many businesses and industries including hospitality, retail, restaurants and many local governments, Waste Management is experiencing unprecedented labor shortages due to the pandemic and post-pandemic issues. We want you to know we value your loyalty and support and are doing everything possible to remedy the situation and continue to provide the world-class service you have come to expect from us. We apologize for any delays in service and appreciate your patience as we work through this temporary delay.”

Commissioner Howell said Waste Management has the equipment to do the job, but not the staff.

“Everybody’s having problems getting people to work these days, and hopefully in six months, that’ll turn itself around and they can figure out whatever it’s going to take to hire good, long lasting employees, and we’ll get the problem solved,” he said.

Trash pickup has been a concern since Howell took office Dec. 30, he said, and as long as trash, recycling and yard waste are getting picked up, he said he doesn’t think people really mind who does it.

“Just be patient with us. We’re having a big push to get caught up on recycling, and honestly recycling seems to be the bigger complaint lately,” he said. “The mayor’s been working on the solution now for about a month, a month and a half, and it looks like this is going to work, and I look forward to seeing the progress.”


Mayor Lester Miller announced June 24 a plan to help ensure garbage, recycling and yard waste services were met.

“While we do understand that we are in a pandemic, and we have been very patient on short staffing, we have come to a point where changes need to be made in the short term. We do plan for additional changes, and we will begin to consider long term implications of people in our community receiving these most needed services,” Miller said.

The county announced last month it has hired Ceres Environmental Operations to handle yard waste pickup for the next eight weeks, and they will maintain the normal schedule meaning people can put their yard waste out on the Sunday night of their designated week.

On Thursday, the county announced a second company had been hired for yard waste pickup. Southern Disaster Recovery will pickup yard and bulk waste starting Thursday for eight weeks to help get collections back on schedule, according to a news release.

The county has also contracted with Ryland Environmental to start picking up trash, recycling and yard waste for 20% of the county starting around July 26 leaving Waste Management to cover the remaining 80%, Miller said.

The money to pay for Ryland Environmental’s services will be diverted from the money the county pays Waste Management for its services, Miller said.

The plan can last up to six months, which will give Waste Management time to reallocate its resources and hopefully hire more people, Miller said.

“We as a mayor and as a commission understand. We have heard your voices, and we are here to take action,” Miller said.

The mayor and his team along with some commissioners, have ridden on the recycling trucks to help Waste Management pickup recycling.

“We take this very seriously. We know it’s a very important job, and we’re committed to making this happen. Now, we call this our obligation, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.