Brookfield will attempt to beef up its recycling efforts in negotiating a new waste hauling contract with its current vendor, Groot Industries. Village officials outlined their plan to push for larger, covered recycling receptacles, continued unlimited yard waste removal, fall leaf collection and at least one amnesty day, where villagers can discard an unlimited number of large items, such as appliances.

The village’s current contract with Groot, which was extended for a year in 2008, ends Aug. 1. Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said last week that staff expects to be able to hammer out a new 4.5-year contract with Groot by the end of the month.

Village trustees, he said, should be able to vote to accept the new waste-hauling contract for single-family and multifamily properties at its July 27 meeting. Village trustees, at their committee of the whole meeting on July 13, consented to Ginex entering into contract negotiations with Groot.

While the process requires the village to waive the formal competitive bidding process, the village in May did solicit waste-hauling firms for proposals regarding single-family and two-unit properties. According to Ginex, five vendors submitted informal bids, including Groot, Waste Management, Roy Strom, DisposAll Waste Services and Veolia Environmental Services.

Groot’s proposal, presented on July 13, was the lowest of the five combining all elements of the waste-hauling operation – refuse, recycling and yard waste. Groot’s bid estimated a monthly charge to single-family two-unit customers of $15.92. That’s lower than the $16.72 the company now charges.

The savings would principally come from a drop in the charge to customers for yard waste hauling, which would fall from $4.10 a month to $3.05. Information on costs for multifamily buildings was not available as of press time.

“They were hungry to keep the business,” said Ginex, who also noted that the yard waste charges appeared to be higher in Brookfield than other suburban customers of Groot’s.

“They wanted to keep that in line and be competitive,” Ginex said.

Ginex said it would be up to the village board to pass that savings along to customers, and suggested that the village might choose to keep rates the same and use the surplus to build up the garbage fund, which the village has used to pay for aspects of alley paving and maintenance.

One change that single-family and two-unit customers can count on with the new contract is getting 65-gallon receptacles for recycling. The new cans will replace the smaller 20-gallon totes currently distributed throughout the village.

The larger recycling cans, which will be the same size as the refuse cans, should encourage more recycling and cut down on the amount of refuse thrown in the regular trash cans.

Ginex said the new recycling receptacles would reduce solid waste disposal by 15 to 20 percent over the life of the contract.

“It will encourage recycling and make the village a model of refuse collection and recycling behavior,” Ginex added.

Barbara Dahm, a Brookfield resident who owns a multifamily building in the village, encouraged the board to find a way for those buildings to receive covered recycling containers as well. The smaller totes, she said, did not encourage recycling by tenants.

“We have to make it more convenient for tenants,” Dahm said.

Ginex said that the new contract will include a provision for leaf removal from streets, which the village instituted on a trial basis in 2008. Brookfield public works pushed the leaves into piles and loaded them directly onto Groot’s trucks, which drove them out of town.

In the past, the village had to create unsightly and smelly temporary leaf dumps, where the rotting leaves sat until they were trucked out of the village. Last year’s solution was more efficient, though not cheap. Brookfield paid out about $50,000 for leaf removal in 2008, Ginex said. The cost for leaf removal is reflected in the yard waste charge, Ginex said.

Groot also gave the village a proposal for a junk-away day, where residents can throw out an unlimited number of large items on a given day. While the contract already allows customers the opportunity to dispose of one such large item a week, the junk-away day is something of a tradition in Brookfield – one that formerly was carried out by public works employees.

Ginex estimated that the village spent $30,000 for the annual spring cleanup days in the village and that it would take three to four weeks to complete. The new proposal would take public works out of the equation. The day would be paid through the garbage fund, Ginex said. Whether that aspect is part of the new contract will be up to the village board, he said.

“We’re trying to encourage people to do the one bulk item a week,” Ginex said.

One aspect of Groot’s bid that will not be part of a new contract was a proposal by the village for the waste hauling vendor to become the sole provider of construction Dumpsters and pay the village an administrative fee on all collections.

Ginex said the village decided “why upset the apple cart” on that issue, after realizing that some property owners have solid business relationships with Dumpster companies.