Garbage and recycling changes and FAQs

La Crosse and Onalaska switching to automated pickup

Both Onalaska and La Crosse are in the process of switching over to an automated garbage and recycling collection system and it’s causing a lot of confusion and questions. We sat down with city officials Friday to find out what people are concerned about and what the city needs to see done from citizens.

La Crosse and Onalaska are going through changes.

“What we’re talking about here in some cases is a lifestyle change,” city of La Crosse Public Works Director Dale Hexom said

The change has brought up lots of questions like placement of the new bins.

“(They should go) at the end of the driveway, flat, not up on top of snowbanks, not tipped,” Hexom said.


The new automated pickup system brings its own issues.

“The cart has to be facing with the lid facing the street so the lid will open. The truck is basically going to come and wrap the arms around the cart and lift it up and dump it,” Hexom said.

When it’s a garbage and recycling pick up day things become even more tricky.

“So when the two carts are out per resident is to make sure that they have the 3 feet between the two carts. Have the proper side facing the street so that means that the handle would actually face the house,” said Onalaska city engineer, Jarrod Holter.

If you can’t fit everything in your bin don’t just throw it next to it. Harter’s Quick Cleanup won’t pick up the overflow. They’re currently warning people of issues with pickup.

“Harter’s Quick Cleanup has been tagging carts that are either improperly placed or could be placed better to help speed up the process, to help with collection,” Holter said.

But in Onalaska that won’t last much longer.

“As of Monday they wont be tagging anymore. As of Monday they will be only picking up carts that are properly placed,” Holter said.

In both Onalaska and La Crosse if you aren’t able to get your garbage or recycling to the end of the road there is a solution. Have your care provider write a note saying that you are physically unable to do so and Harter’s will do that for you. As long as they can see the cans they will empty them and bring them back to your door.

Another problem that has come up is bin size. Residents in both cities will have a chance to exchange their bin size: La Crosse in March and Onalaska in April.

Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that were also mentioned by La Crosse and Onalaska:

When can I trade in my garbage and recycle bins for different ones?

In La Crosse you can begin requesting an exchange in March.

In Onalasaka information will be sent out in mid-February on how to exchange, final decisions need to be made by April 1st.

What size bin can I request?

In La Crosse citizens can request 35,65 or 95 gallon garbage bins and 65 or 95 gallon recycling.

Onalaska citizens have the choice of 35, 65 or 95 gallon garbage or recycling bins.

If there are other questions, visit the City of La Crosse’s website or call 608-789-7508 For Onalaska, call 608-781-9590.