Trash Consolidation Study

Share your thoughts

At the July 27, 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting, Chris Lund, Senior Vice President with GBB Solid Waste Management Consultants, led a presentation to kick-off the County’s Trash Consolidation Study, which included an overview of the scope of work and a timeline.

James City County’s Trash Consolidation study seeks to assess the current approach to trash collection and recommend solutions that provide responsible, sustainable and economic benefits to the community and the environment. Currently, James City County does not provide curbside trash collection; households contract with private haulers or through a homeowners association for trash collection services, or residents can drop off trash at one of the County’s three convenience centers for a fee. In addition, the County provides a bulky items pickup service for a fee. Leaf drop off and collection is provided three times per year and no additional fees are charged. The County also provides a subscription-based curbside recycling service for a fee. A phone survey of randomly selected County residents began on Aug. 9. We also welcome residents to share their thoughts on the County’s potential options for future trash collection services by filling out the form below.

The County does not currently provide curbside trash pick-up. As James City County (JCC) has continued to grow in population, there have been increasingly more questions as to why JCC does not provide trash service. Over the past few years, the Board of Supervisors has been interested in providing a more comprehensive program with the expectation that it would be more efficient, enable better county response to storm debris pickup, provide better alternatives than allowing residents to burn household waste at their homes, and help to reduce illegal dumping of trash.

In 2019, students in the Masters Public Policy Program at the College of William & Mary conducted a research project on the feasibility of a unified solid waste collection scheme. The project identified the problem as, “the solid waste removal system within JCC is unorganized and inefficient.” The students presented their findings to the Board at the November 26 2019 Work Session (minutes). The group’s overall recommendation to the Board was to consider adopting a Universal Model to provide the greatest cost savings for residents. A Universal Service model is funded through a real estate property tax, and provides identical service, including recycling, to all households (as opposed to a Best Practices model, which has a “pay-as-you-throw” fee structure, incentivizing recycling). The students listed the potential benefits as, fairer pricing (one price for all residents), more easily accessible information (County website), decreased nuisance and inefficiencies, and being more environmentally friendly (fewer trucks on the road releasing emissions). The drawbacks discussed were maintaining business-as-usual was easier and had less legal risks (displacing current haulers), potentially higher prices for certain residents, and limiting free market choice.

On November 24 2020, Grace Boone, General Services Director discussed with the Board of Supervisors Work Session (minutes) the need to hire a consultant to perform a solid waste consolidation study. County staff sought support to pursue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a solid waste consolidation study, to provide alternatives, true price points and recommendations for the Board of Supervisors’ consideration. The study aimed to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of, 

  • a voluntary or mandatory program, 
  • fee based or paid through taxes, 
  • Homeowners Associations (HOAs) being required to participate or excluded, 
  • the program being executed by a contractor or internal staff, 
  • the program to be offered inside the PSA (Primary Service Area) only or to all residents, 
  • and throughout the process, obtaining public involvement.

The board gave approval to pursue the RFP.

On July 27 2021, Chris Lund, Senior Vice President of GBB Solid Waste Management Consultants presented at the Board of Supervisors Business Meeting (minutes). The presentation provided an overview of the scope of work, including a timeline and projected final report to be presented at the November 23 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting. The project approach included six tasks: 1) identify existing conditions, 2) survey of JCC residents, 3) collection options, 4) identify management challenges, 6) determine cost of selected options. GBB partnered with Shapard Research to conduct a statistically valid telephone survey of County residents about trash collection in the County. The phone survey is to include at least 400 JCC residents, using demographic questions to ensure representation of residents from different locations and backgrounds that align with census population data. GBB will also collaborate with C2Logix, a route optimization solutions company to find the most efficient way to route trucks. Following the presentation, on August 10, JCC released a news flash, as well as two Facebook posts (August 11 and 17) informing citizens of the upcoming phone survey, and linking to this form, for residents to share their thoughts. WYDAILY published an article on August 11 about the phone survey.

Ultimately, the study will provide the residents, the Board of Supervisors, and County staff with as much information as possible to make an informed decision on whether the county should provide this service, and if so at what service level. We also welcome residents to share their thoughts on the County’s potential options for future trash collection services by filling out the form above.