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Yard waste cart popularity to cost city

Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve an increase of as much as 25 percent in the cost of hauling yard waste — driven by an increase in the popularity of 95-gallon yard waste carts among city residents.

Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve an increase of as much as 25 percent in the cost of hauling yard waste — driven by an increase in the popularity of 95-gallon yard waste carts among city residents.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson, in a memo to aldermen, says the original contract with Groot estimated that no more than 3,000 of the city's 15,800 route stops would use the yard waste carts.

But — faced with the choice of paying a $1.75 per bag yard waste sticker fee or a one-time fee to buy a cart from the city, an unexpectedly high number of residents have opted for the carts.

The number, Robinson said, is now 4,400 and climbing.

Using carts makes it less likely that workers will suffer injuries that Robinson says are common when they have to throw bags into the waste trucks, but it takes longer to empty the carts than throw the bags.

So, she says, Groot has had to add a fourth truck collecting yard waste — which raises its costs about $160,000 a year.

The city also dramatically overestimated how many yard waste stickers it would sell, with sticker revenue now running hundreds of thousands less than the $750,000 per year originally projected.

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