Customers who prepaid Raccoon Refuse for garbage or recycling service may be able to get their money back.
Municipalities that had contracts with Raccoon Refuse for residential services may get compensation from performance bonds posted by the company.
Raccoon Refuse, based in Mill Village, is out of business. In an email to Union City Borough on Monday, the company said that it has closed and is no longer providing service. Raccoon Refuse picked up garbage from residential customers in Union City.
Garbage hauler goes out of business:Erie area municipalities, residents scramble to arrange new service
The company also provided garbage pickup for Albion and Cambridge Springs borough residents and collected recyclables in Summit Township.
Individual Raccoon Refuse customers in areas with no municipally-contracted garbage and recycling service also are affected by the company’s closure. Raccoon Refuse served an estimated 15,000 customers in Erie County, Erie County Executive Brenton Davis said in a news release Tuesday night.
The county is working with local municipalities to get trash collected and offer alternatives for recycling, Davis said.
“Our first priority is making sure that our residents’ trash isn’t piling up for weeks and creating a public health concern. We are engaged in ongoing talks with (local municipalities) to identify a drop-off site until a new curbside hauler has been identified,” Davis said.
Garbage previously collected by Raccoon Refuse has been piling up at the company’s transfer station in Spartansburg. The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the company to clean the site.
How customers can apply for a refund
Raccoon Refuse customers who paid for service by credit or debit card can contact the company’s billing service for a refund.
Vermont-based Trash Billing, in a notification to local municipalities on Tuesday, said that refunds will be issued to customers who paid for service electronically. The company said that it cannot refund payments made by check or paid directly to Raccoon Refuse.
To apply for a refund, email [email protected], with “Raccoon Refuse Customer” in the subject line.
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“We’re happy to issue refunds for payments made with no service provided, but we’re currently overwhelmed with the call volume related to Racoon’s closure,” Trash Billing said in a notice to Union City Borough.
Customers should provide their 12-digit account number, date of their last payment, and the number of times they received service after making the payment.
Municipalities may be able to recoup costs
Summit Township officials will apply for compensation from a performance bond provided by Raccoon Refuse when it was awarded a contract to provide curbside recycling service in the township.
The bond, issued by a private insurance company for $90,000, can be claimed when a company defaults on contracted services.
“We can let them know what our loss is and apply for that money,” Summit Township Supervisor Jack Lee said. “We’ve already talked to our attorney about showing that Raccoon Refuse voided its obligation.”
The bond money could compensate the township for the cost to provide new recycling service. Summit Township, based on population and population density, is among larger municipalities required by state law to provide recycling service.
Summit Township residents arrange for their own garbage pickup. Bright green Raccoon Refuse containers were still at curbsides in front of some township homes on Wednesday.
“We are fortunate that we have five trash haulers other than Raccoon providing service in the township, and hopefully they can fill some of the void,” Lee said.
Finding new garbage service, recycling sites
Albion Borough has arranged for garbage pickup by Tri-County Industries beginning Thursday.
The borough’s contract with Raccoon Refuse for residential garbage pickup was set to expire at the end of this year. It had awarded a new five-year contract, beginning in January, to Tri-County Industries.
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Because of the Raccoon Refuse closing, the Grove City-based hauler has agreed to begin work in the borough immediately, borough Manager Gary Wells said.
Cambridge Springs Borough will accept residents’ garbage in dumpsters on carnival grounds in Snow Alley until it can arrange new curbside pickup.
Union City Borough is working to make new arrangements, borough Manager Cindy Wells said.
Raccoon Refuse customers in other parts of Erie and Crawford counties will need to make their own arrangements for garbage and recycling service.
Companies providing service in the county include Waste Management, B.W. Stroup Disposal, Kicker Disposal, Swanson & Sons Waste Service and Pro Waste Services, Brenton Davis said in his Tuesday news release.
Erie County residents can take recyclables to a number of drop-off sites. A complete list, with locations, dates and instructions, is available at eriecountypa.gov.
Raccoon Refuse ordered to clean transfer site
Raccoon Refuse has more headaches beyond going out of business.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the company to clean its Spartansburg transfer station. Garbage collected by Raccoon Refuse had been taken to the site for transport to the landfill.
“The DEP inspected the Racoon Refuse transfer station in Spartansburg yesterday and confirmed that waste has been piling up and has spread beyond the permitted unloading and approved storage areas,” DEP spokesman Tom Decker said in an email to the Erie Times-News on Wednesday.
In a notice delivered to Raccoon Refuse owner Ernest Sell, DEP on Tuesday ordered the company “to remove and properly dispose of all solid waste” at the facility within 48 hours.
The department will monitor compliance, Decker said.