The new garbage contract in Reus improves recycling but incivility is chronic
The Reus Net garbage collection and street cleaning contract, which was launched in October 2021 after more than half a century of FCC leading these tasks, has just completed its first year in operation. The temporary union of companies (UTE) formed by Valoriza Servicios Medioambientales SA and José Antonio Romero Polo SAU took charge of the service, at the end of a convulsive award process, for 106,424,359.20 euros and for a decade. Coinciding with the handover, municipal sources consulted in this regard specify to the Diari that "Reus continues to increase its selective collection rates with a very significant improvement in the data since the deployment of new containers and the increase in islands throughout the city", although the incivility linked to waste is still present.
In detail, and according to the same sources, "comparing the data for the period from March to September 2022 with that of 2021, the most relevant progress is that of the organic fraction, with a growth of 56%". There has also been a rise of 18% in packaging, 12% in paper and cardboard and 9% in glass.
The installation of the current garbage deposits in the streets culminated in the second half of April 2022 and «the positive trend has been consolidated since then, as a result of the greater availability and accessibility of the containers and of educational and dissemination tasks through campaigns like Reus, recycle bé». The City Council emphasizes that the action of environmental informants or the delivery of recycling kits to families has also influenced this.
The continuous extensions of the FCC management had taken the containers, which had accumulated around 12 years of use, to the limit of their possibilities. There were some without lids, in a very precarious state, with the mechanism damaged, perforated or melted. And residents of several neighborhoods denounced that the government had stopped replacing those that burned in episodes of fires because they had no more. In April, the 1,888 warehouses in Reus were replaced by 2,285 units –397 more than there were– called to be more accessible, modern, ecological and silent. The surface batteries went from 285 to 450 and all of them included the complete fractions.
Parking spaces and accessibility
The change involved an investment of up to 1.98 million euros, with an approximate cost of 870 euros per container, and was accompanied by pre-collection circuits and litter bin reviews. It was not without complaints in some quarters. And it is that to install the tanks on the road, the City Council occupied at least 215 additional linear meters on public roads and eliminated free parking spaces, blue zone and loading and unloading. The drivers claimed to compensate for the lost space with deterrents. On the other hand, in recent weeks, Disabled Reus has denounced that the locations of some batteries prevent people with reduced mobility from using them easily.
Also in the field of rubbish, but more recently, this October, Reus Net has started a test with emerging islands in the Teatre, Argenters and El Pallol squares. These are trailers with portable containers for domestic use, which are put on the street every day at 7:00 p.m. and leave at 11 p.m. and that accept organic, packaging, paper and cardboard, glass, rest, vegetable oils and textiles. They may later include collection of diapers and batteries.
Its implementation has led to the dismantling of the underground used by these areas. And it has caused discontent in part of the residents of the three squares who, although they value the benefits of the mechanism, regret that the hours to throw the garbage are limited and the mouths of the deposits are narrow. Along with these batteries, uncivil behavior has begun to be seen, since some people leave the bags on the ground so as not to wait for the 7:00 p.m. slot. at 11 p.m. The objective of the City Council is to apply the emerging islands throughout the nucleus, where the disappearance of underground deposits progresses.
The contract with Reus Net, the largest of those managed by the City Council, also contemplated the renewal of the vehicle fleet. The budget for machinery is 5.4 million for cleaning and 5.1 million for waste collection. When the process is finished, the park will consist of a passenger car, 35 auxiliary vehicles, five vans (all electric), 17 collection trucks (propelled by natural gas), 19 sweepers (two electric and two gas), four pressure washers , six side-loading collectors and 17 vehicles for irrigation. Its arrival has been delayed and municipal sources indicate that "it is in the final stretch with the reception of almost all the equipment except five, which will be added shortly and that are four pressure washers and a cleaning tank."
Waste outside the deposits
Asked about the course of the new contract and the surface containers that are now used by the residents of Reus, the mayor, Carles Pellicer, values that "for the moment they are working well, beyond specific issues that may occur." Pellicer recalls, despite everything, that "Reus is very large and there is a lot of incivility, and incivility means that we cannot have a 100% clean city, although 100% is difficult to achieve." Likewise, and "in relation to the country as a whole, Reus is a highly valued city in terms of cleanliness and councilors Hipòlit Monseny and Daniel Rubio are doing a good job."
And, what do the neighbors think of the service? The president of the Federació d'Associacions de Veïns de Reus (FAVR), Marcos Massó, explains that "we recently had a meeting with the mayor and he himself told us that some trucks and machines were still missing, but the containers have changed a lot" . Like Pellicer, Massó also stresses that "there is too much incivility, people leave their rubbish outside the container, they leave all kinds of bulky items in the middle of the street and, if we want to have a clean city, we all have to contribute."
Regarding the contract, «there are no overwhelming complaints and it is not that it works much better; they do what they can just like the previous one », he values.
As for incivility, the City Council had once referred to the possibility of using cameras to monitor some islands. Precisely this idea has appeared in the current call for the Pressupostos Participatius, where Francesc Jané and Francisco Goya ask for these devices "before the amount of rubbish deposited outside".