Spurred by unhappiness from residents about the city’s waste management services, Portland, Maine, is considering returning trash collection to the private sector.
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Addressing Portland citizens’ unhappiness with the city government’s administration of waste management services, the Portland City Council held a workshop in June to debate alternatives to the city’s current program. The city government has fielded numerous complaints from taxpayers about litter caused by the city’s recycling program, rising prices for trash disposal, and video footage of government employees disposing of recyclables as garbage.
Liam Sigaud, a policy analyst at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, says privatizing trash collection has worked successfully in many other cities.
“The many cities that have adopted a private-trash-collection model have almost uniformly seen improvements in service quality and cost savings,” Sigaud said. “The reason is simple: Private enterprise has an incentive to provide efficient, effective services that public employees, often protected by union contracts, lack.”