ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Waste collection in St. Martin Parish is improving with cutting-edge technology at the start of 2022.

Each part of the parish outside of St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Parks, and Henderson will be under a new, automated trash collection provider, Waste Connections. It will affect roughly 15,000 people.

St. Martin Parish is going to get equipment that Waste Connections has never used before in the state. All the drivers currently navigate on stapled paper lists for their routes. New tablets mounted in each truck will tell drivers exactly where they are going, and they can checkmark collected trash or record any errors preventing a collection in real-time.

“This is definitely state-of-the-art technology that we’re bringing in. It will be the first one in Louisiana,” stated Waste Connections Division Market Development Manager Jamie Gilbert.

Tablets are just the start of the modernization in waste collection St. Martin Parish residents can expect on January 1, 2022. No longer will trash be collected by hand or at least by human hand. Robotic arm collection, five-point camera surveillance, and driver monitoring ensure efficiency and safety. Everything from pickup date, to bill pay, and more can be found on the Waste Connect app.

Unlike the last time a new trash provider moved into St. Martin Parish in 2019, no one will have to worry about switching their garbage cans. Bills will be cheaper; however, curbside recycling will stop in favor of recycling drop-off points throughout the parish.

“Obviously, you learn from past mistakes, so what we’re trying to do is study how we can make this new program the best that it can be,” stated St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars.

Cedars has been working on finding a replacement waste management company for multiple months, stressing communication as a priority. Waste Connections introduced themselves to St. Martin Parish residents earlier in November through a flier potential customers should have already received.

By the end of this week (Dec. 4), new customers should receive an advance invoice for the first three months of service.

“If you haven’t received anything, definitely contact us because we want to make sure we are communicating with everyone,” Gilbert encouraged.

Waste Connections is already familiar with trash collection in Acadiana, serving Acadia, Iberia, Vermilion, and St. Landry. “And you can bet before I put my signature on the dotted line, I was calling those parishes. Tell me about these dudes,” Cedars teased before saying, “I’m very optimistic that this program will be a complete, total, and absolute success.”

According to Waste Connections, through their efforts to connect to new customers, they discovered about one-thousand homes in St. Martin Parish that were not being billed despite trash being picked up at their locations.

Additional information, as well as a frequently asked questions page, can be found here.