CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first round of Charleston's new trash bag distribution system began Sept. 7, but retailers were already finding the need to order more by last week.
By Monday, all five participating retailers had run out of either trash or recycling bags -- or both, in some cases -- though new shipments of the bags were expected everywhere by Tuesday.
In June, Charleston City Council voted to administer the trash bag distribution system through WasteZero, a North Carolina company that provides and distributes refuse bags for municipalities.
As part of the contract with WasteZero, five local businesses were selected to serve as distribution centers - the Purple Onion at Capitol Market, Foodland in Kanawha City, Pile Hardware on Washington Street West and Drug Emporium locations in Kanawha City and the West Side.
In the past, city crews distributed the trash bags under the Interstate 64 overpass.
Eligible residents received vouchers for the bags in the mail, and those vouchers can be redeemed for the bags at any of the five businesses. Residents in apartment buildings or other rentals can obtain the vouchers or bags from their landlord.
One key difference with the new system is that retailers are responsible for ordering additional shipments of bags when their respective supplies are exhausted, said Charleston Purchasing Director Shannon Milroy. The city does not order the bags for the retailers.
Some businesses ran out of both kinds of bags by last Friday. Other retailers, like the Kanawha City Foodland, had run out of recycling bags but not trash bags.
All five retailers told the Daily Mail they were informed new shipments would arrive by today at the latest.
The WasteZero agreement cost the city $320,000, which Councilman Bobby Reishman said would save the city $35,000 over the old system. Four council members voted against the bag distribution this year.
The second distribution for the fiscal year will be in February.
Charleston resident Jerry Waters told the Daily Mail on Friday that the lack of trash bags was forcing people to travel to different locations around the city. He was particularly concerned for elderly residents who couldn't find bags at the distribution sites.
"They're going to have to straighten this out," he said.Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Mur...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.