BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Complaints continue to pile up as some Baton Rouge residents say crews with Republic Services are still overlooking their trash. It’s a dirty little secret that many across the city-parish say is not so secret anymore.
George Butler lives on Edgewood Drive and tells WAFB’s Scottie Hunter that Republic Services is falling short. While the company does pick up his garbage can, he says anything he leaves at the street has been overlooked for months. He says even some boxes of debris from the flash flooding on June 6 still sit at his curb almost a week later.
“Complaints seem to fall on deaf ears and the trash still gets stuck out there and I’m still stuck with trying to find a place for the trash,” Butler said. “Sometimes, you leave it there over the weekend and nobody comes and you’re going to have to do something because if not it’s going to build up and you’re going to have a whole lot of trash around your house.”
Several calls to 311 later, he says he was finally able to get some help. After reaching out to his local representative, Councilman LaMont Cole, he says he was told Republic Services should be stopping by first thing Wednesday morning. While he wants to believe that, he says he has been burned by the trash service one too many times.
"I don't think anybody would want to do this or have to live like this, Scottie," he added.
More than 20,000 calls have swamped the 311 call center since 2017 and at a meeting in May, council members did not hold back over the complaints they say have gotten out of control.
“You have to have frequent offenders as far as your drivers that miss if half of this is true,” said Councilman Matt Watson.
“I’m not trying to beat up on Republic, but something is apparently wrong,” Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis added.
WAFB has also gotten complaints from nearly every inch of the parish, with some folks getting a little creative and putting out signs to explain to crews what they’re supposed to do with the big green cans. Other folks have been greeted with a big middle finger from at least one disgruntled worker while they were trying to take a picture of the employee’s work.
“I never thought it would get to this point, but I guess we’re there now,” Butler added.
Leaders with Republic Services told council members they are working to address the issues and have fired about a dozen of their employees over missed routes, even as they company faces a mounting driver shortage.
WAFB did reach out to Republic Services about the picture believed to be of one of their employees flipping off a resident. A councilman told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter the employee was disciplined, but so far, the company has not provided a comment on what that discipline may have been.