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Posted on: May 11, 2018

Residential Trash and Recycling Collection Program - Important Information

Program Implementation Update (Updated May 11, 2018):

  • As of Friday, May 11, the start date for the new Automated Residential Refuse and Recycling Collection Program is being pushed back to allow for the delivery of the three automated collection trucks to be utilized with the new program. 
  • Collection of recycling will continue once per month until the automated collection trucks are delivered. Collection of refuse will continue once per week.
  • Time will then be needed for the Village Public Works Department to transition to the new program. This includes training of the collectors, confirming a delivery date for new refuse carts, and scheduling old cart and can cart pickup in the Village. 
  • The type of truck purchased in October 2017 by the Village is a popular model used in similar places across the country, and due to the high demand, delivery has been pushed back from April and is now anticipated in June, but no specific date is set.
  • All residents will be notified via postcard as soon as a date is known for implementation of the program, delivery of new carts to residents, and pickup of old, unwanted cans and carts. This information will also be sent out via the online email newsletter, posted on the website, posted in the library, and noticed on Facebook.

Important Notices (Updated March 7, 2018):

  • Frequently Asked Questions (updated March 7, 2018): Click here to view.
  • Village-wide Trash and Recycling mailing dated January 2, 2018: Click here to view.
  • Exemption application for on-property collection: Click here to view and print.  As part of the new Trash and Recycling Collection program, trash and recycling carts will be required to be brought to the curb or alley edge. If you would like to apply for an exemption from this requirement because you are unable to comply due to a medical hardship please contact the Village. An approved exemption application is required for each adult in the household to receive on-property collection.

New Trash Cart Manufacturing Process:

The Village of Whitefish Bay has contracted with Cascade Manufacturing to provide 5,000 new wheeled, hinged-lid trash carts which will be delivered in June 2018. The cart color will be gray, and the Village logo will be stamped on the sides, and the top will say “Refuse Only."

96G-GRY (2)
Sample Trash Cart
Manufacturing in progress
A cart rolls off the line

Trash and Recycling
Sample placement of Trash and Recycling Carts

Program status updates:

Status Update April 23, 2018: The Village Board will meet  May 7, 2018 at 6:00 pm in the Whitefish Bay Library Program Room to discuss municipal code updates related to the automated Trash and Recycling Program. The meeting agenda and packet will be available shortly before the meeting. 

Status Update March 7, 2018: The Public Works Committee will meet March 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm in the Whitefish Bay Library Program Room to discuss municipal code updates related to the automated Trash and Recycling Program. The meeting agenda and packet can be found here:

Status Update January 17, 2018: The Public Works Committee met January 8, 2018 to discuss Special Pickups.  The meeting agenda and packet can be found here:   The Special Pickup regulations contain the following Village Staff recommendations:

  • A level of free collection for certain smaller refuse items and limited quantities of brush/yard waste to maintain the current standard of service for Village residents. This free level of collection would not permit routine household refuse which does not fit in the Village refuse collection cart as a result of the cart being full.
  • The creation of a logical progression from a free collection, to a standard pickup, to an excessive pickup depending on the size and/or quantity or refuse, recycling, yard waste, and brush requested to be collected.
  • Use of a dimensional size and/or quantity requirement so special pickups rules in the ordinance can be fairly applied to as many situations as possible. This will also make it easier for Village residents and Village Staff to determine what should be a No-Charge Special Pickup, what is a Charged Special Pickup, and what is an Excessive Special Pickup. 
  • A Charged Special Pickup should maintain the current fee of $45.00 and should include a collection time limit of 15 minutes of DPW labor.  Defining a time limit in the ordinance is important to make sure that DPW employees and the Village have the backing of the municipal code in the event a special pickup takes an excessive amount of time. 
  • Allowing a resident to request an Excessive Special Pickup (or allowing the DPW to declare items placed for a special pickup as excessive).  The cost of an Excessive Special Pickup will be based on the hourly rate for the personnel, including fringe benefits, equipment used, and disposal fees.
  • Defining the placement of items for a special pickup, prohibited items, safety requirements, and highlighting the specification that a Village employee will not enter a household to collect a special pickup.
  • Clarification that the Village will not collect construction and/or remodeling waste from projects requiring a Village permit.

Status Update January 2, 2018: A Village-wide mailing was distributed to all residents who receive trash and recycling collection explaining the new automated program. The mailing can be found at the following link:  

Status Update December 12, 2017: The Public Works Committee recommended that the Village Board offer an exemption to the cart-to curb requirement via an application form for medical proposes. There should be no cost to this application and a physician’s signature and recommendation should be required for each household member. The Public Works Committee also discussed including a section on the exemption application related to receiving a 35-gallon cart in lieu of receiving on-property collection service. The Public Works Committee did not make a formal motion on this sub-topic, but staff has incorporated this suggestion into the draft exemption application.  The Village Board will discus the these items at a Public Meeting at 6:00 pm on Monday, December 18, at 6:00 pm. The meeting agenda and packet can be found here:

Status Update December 8, 2017: The Public Works Committee will discuss the changes to the Trash and Recycling Programs and provide their recommendation to the Village Board at a Public Meeting at 6:00 pm on Monday, December 11, at 6:00 pm in the Program Room at the Whitefish Bay Public Library. The meeting will focus on the a revised Village Ordinance, Exemptions, and  Public Communication. The meeting agenda and packet can be found here:

Status update as of November 21, 2017: The Village Board authorized the 95-gallon cart, gray in color with a gray lid, to be standard for the new automated trash collection program. As part of the initial cart distribution, residents will each receive the standard 95-gallon cart (same size as the recycling cart provided by the Village). Residents will have the option of requesting a smaller, 64-gallon cart. A smaller 32-gallon cart may be permitted in cases of exemptions. Any future changes in trash cart size will be at cost to the resident, including when a property is sold. Lastly, additional carts will be permitted to be purchased at a cost, plus an administrative fee. All carts will remain the property of the Village. 

Status Update November 10, 2017: The Public Works Committee will discuss the changes to the Trash and Recycling Programs and provide their recommendation to the Village Board at a Public Meeting at 6:00 pm on Monday, November 13 in the Program Room at the Whitefish Bay Public Library. The meeting will discuss Trash Cart Size and Cart Regulations. The meeting agenda and packet can be found here:

Status Update September 12, 2017: The Village Board voted to authorize the implementation of an automated trash and recycling program. The Village Board provided directed village staff to develop an implementation plan that includes an exception process for the cart to curb requirement and to set the implementation date for the recycling program. Draft minutes from the public hearing on September 11, 2017 can be found by clicking here.

Status Update August 2017: The Village Board of Whitefish Bay took action to authorize the implementation of every other week collection of recyclables to begin in spring of 2018. 

Program Summary

Trash Collection Program Review:

The Village Board is in the process of reviewing the Trash Collection Program and has elected to move to an automated system.  Automated collection involves the use of a truck equipped with an automated arm, which allows the operator to empty trash carts and then return carts to their original position without leaving the cab of the vehicle (under normal circumstances).  

The Village Board held three Public Hearings to solicit feedback from residents about the potential change to an automated collection system.  The latest Public Hearing began at 7:00pm on Monday, September 11th in the Village Board Room (2nd Floor) at Whitefish Bay Village Hall.  

Quick Facts - Potential Automated Trash Collection Program

1. Each household would receive a free trash collection cart from the Village. This cart would be identical in size and shape to the recycling cart previously provided.

2. Weekly collection would take place on the same day that households currently receive pick-up. Households would be responsible for bringing the trash cart to the curb (within 10 feet) or to the alley edge.

Why the change to Trash Collection?

1. Cost Savings: The conversion to an automated trash collection system would reduce Village annual trash collection operation and maintenance costs by an estimated $105,585 per year.

2. Environmental/Aesthetic Benefits: The use of uniform, covered trash carts helps to prevent littering due to blowing of uncovered trash items.

3. Improved safety for Village employees:  Currently each Village trash collector lifts between 6,000 and 9,000 pounds of garbage and walks between 10 to 12 miles per day (in all weather conditions) pushing a collection cart up and down driveways, sidewalks and streets. As a result, Village collectors have sustained shoulder, arm, hand, back and knee injuries.

In addition, sharps disposed of in trash bags and cans without proper containers also pose a puncture risk as the Village trash collectors perform their duties. Chemical containers have also been found to be hidden in trash bags. These can break open when the collection truck hopper is compacted, resulting in Village trash collectors being exposed to the disbursement of chemicals and/or fumes.

The following videos show an automated-arm trash truck in action:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3


The conversion to an automated trash collection system will occur in 2018 (to correspond with the already approved change to the Recycling Collection Program).


Contact Jenny Heyden
Village of Whitefish Bay Communications Specialist
414-962-6690 Ext. 495

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