Changes to Oak Ridge’s Solid Waste Services to Begin July 1

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (May 13, 2021) – Beginning July 1, the City’s 25-year solid waste contract will end, and the new contract will begin – meaning changes will occur with City of Oak Ridge Solid Waste services.

Regular trash pickup will continue to be provided weekly but will now be picked up at the curb. New and larger, 95-gallon, trash bins will be provided at no cost.

Recycling services will remain curbside. The brown recycling bins will be replaced if they are currently damaged and need replacement.

“With the savings from reusing our current recycling bins, we are able to keep the rate increase with the new contract low,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said.

The residential waste/recycling fee will only increase by $1.20 per month, from $14 to $15.20.

In preparation for the bid for the new contract, the City surveyed 300 residents at random on their preferences related to household trash pickup. The City then used this information to develop and bid the new Solid Waste and Recycling Contract.

“We had two competitive bids and Waste Connections, which is our current contractor, had the best offer,” said Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters. “We will gain some additional services and retain most of the services we currently offer. Backdoor pickup services, however, will change.”

A majority of the households surveyed indicated that they take their household trash to the curb along with their recycling. Under the new contract, the City will continue to offer backdoor pickup to approximately 5% of its customers on an as-needed basis.

If someone is unable to bring their garbage and recycling to the road, they must contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 to request a form that shows verification from a medical provider and/or certifies that a family member, friend, or neighbor cannot assist them. The form can also be found at bit.ly/ORbackdoorpickup and on the City’s website at OakRidgeTN.gov/department/PublicWorks/Home, by clicking ‘Apply for Backdoor Pickup’ under the dropdown menu for ‘Household Trash & Recycling’ at the top of the page.

Brush pickup will continue to be conducted once, annually, in the spring.

After receiving feedback from residents that the annual fall leaf pickup was taking too long, the new contract will require the pickup to be completed within 60 days.

Many residents have previously expressed the desire for an additional pickup for bulky, household rubbish like old appliances and furniture no larger than 3' high x 4' wide x 8' long, and 100 cubic feet. Therefore, household trash pickup will now be held twice a year: spring and fall.

The survey results also showed interest in more weekend availability at the Warehouse Road Convenience Center. As a result, it will now be open on Sundays. Residents can use the center 5 days per week, Wednesday through Sunday. It will be closed on Monday and Tuesday to allow for staff to conduct maintenance on the machines and equipment.

For more information, contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 or visit OakRidgeTN.gov.

RELATED: Waste Connections & City of Oak Ridge implement new trash bins, solid waste contract

Frequently Asked Questions about the changes to 
Oak Ridge’s Garbage Services
1. What’s changing?

Trash service will now be curbside. Recycling services will remain curbside.
Backdoor garbage and recycling services will be provided to residents with qualifying disabilities. If someone is unable to bring their garbage and recycling to the road, they must contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 to request a form that shows verification from a medical provider and/or certifies that a family member, friend, or neighbor cannot assist them.
The Warehouse Road Convenience Center will now be open on Sundays. Residents can use the center 5 days per week, Wednesday through Sunday. It will be closed on Monday and Tuesday to allow for staff to conduct maintenance on the machines and equipment.
The annual fall leaf pickup will be required to be completed within 60 days. 
Due to interest from residents, bulk pickup will now be conducted twice, annually: spring and fall. 
Brush pickup will be conducted once, annually, in the spring.

2. Will this cost me more money? How much?

In an effort to keep costs down, the residential waste/recycling fee will increase by $1.20 per month from $14.00 to $15.20.

3. Which trash bins do I need to use?
New, 95-gallon trash bins will be provided at no cost. Recycling bins will only be replaced if they are currently damaged and need replacement.

4. What if I can’t bring my trash to the curb? 
Those desiring backdoor service must contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 to request a form that shows verification from a medical provider and/or certifies that a family member, friend, or neighbor cannot bring their garbage and recycling to the road. The form can also be found at bit.ly/ORbackdoorpickup and on the City’s website at OakRidgeTN.gov/department/PublicWorks/Home, by clicking ‘Apply for Backdoor Pickup’ under the dropdown menu for ‘Household Trash & Recycling’ at the top of the page.

5. Is anything changing at the Convenience Center?
The Warehouse Road Convenience Center will be open 5 days per week, Wednesday through Sunday, and closed on Monday and Tuesday to allow for staff to conduct maintenance on the machines and equipment.