Why an override is better than a trash fee

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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Fri May 30, 2008 6:39 am

Tiny - The trash fee is supposedly off the table for this year. However, if they were going to implement one, there was going to be an opportunity to "opt-out" and handle your trash on your own (at least that was the plan when it was discussed last year).
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby Curiosity123 on Fri May 30, 2008 10:11 pm

Anyone else hear the Recycling committee's suggestion to the BOS a week ago? it's a completely new pick up system (starting next year)... auto trash... I only heard a piece of the meeting... but it sounded like... there is a cost if you need more than one-64 gallon barrel per household. I thought I heard... $180.00 per barrel per year??? Sounds like a trash fee to me... Or maybe it's just the cost to recycle on top of the cost for trash fees... Who's on First? What's on second?
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Sat May 31, 2008 9:13 am

As I was the one speaking, I can tell you that I heard everything. [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] First of all, the recycling committee didn't come up with the plan. Four area towns evaluated proposals from collection contractors and selected the most cost-effective/appropriate plan out of the bunch. However, the committee was asked for its opinion on the proposal and we stated that we think it is a good idea.

Regarding the cost of additional containers, we hadn't seen the $180 figure until just before the meeting, so I stated that it might be a bit high. However, I thought about the numbers as the meeting progressed and stated at the end that the number may not be unreasonable. See, in the situation where a trash fee was going to be implemented, there was still going to be a limit on the amount of trash someone could put out. Extra bags or stickers would have been available for purchase at some town offices. Costs for the bags or stickers in other towns can be $3 or $4 (or less, depending on the program and other fees) - it covers the additional disposal costs. Therefore, if someone needed an extra bag each week, it gets the cost up to between $150 and $200. Of course, it seems easier to handle when you discuss it as $3 per week.

The reason the committee agrees with the selection of the program is that it has been shown to make people reduce their trash generation (so they don't have to purchase an extra container). This saves us money. If people would do this on their own, these programs wouldn't have to be implemented.

Look, we don't want people to purchase that second container. Some larger families may not have much choice, but, then again, perhaps they aren't fully aware of all the things they could do to reduce their trash generation. I have previously stated that I am willing to take the time and visit anyone's house for what I call a "recycling audit." We can go through questions people have. I can tell you the things you might be able to do to save everyone money. Check out our website (www.tewksbury.info/recycle) and contact me if you would like to go over these things.

In addition (although this didn't get discussed at the meeting), the town is supposed to pull Multi-family Dwellings (condos & townhouses currently using private contractors) into the town's collection/disposal contract starting next year. This should be a good thing, as anyone who wants to recycle to reduce their waste generation will be able to.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby Chasnbos on Sat May 31, 2008 10:12 am

Sounds like a hybrid pay as you throw program
Most people won't pay for a second barrel
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby bferrari on Sat May 31, 2008 10:15 am

Hi Sean,

Can you provide any weblinks to our readers that may contain photos/diagrams and ideas on how a family can become "serious recyclers"?

For instance, someone wants to set aside a part of their mudroom or kitchen where there are a number of bins for recycling. How many separate bins does a Tewksbury family need be serious recyclers? It seems that they would need only two bins. One for paper, another for plastic and glass. Is this accurate for our recycling?
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby Mom74 on Sat May 31, 2008 11:59 am

That's an excellent question.

My family recently converted a regular garbage can into our recycling can (I put a sticker on it even though I understand we don't have to do that these days). But I am not separating out anything... Would be great to have this information.

I also totally support the new trash program and look forward to the toters. I think it will cut down on trash, increase recycling, and the town will recognize some savings.

I think it would be great to have a display set up at the senior center and high school students help out seniors and other that need help making the switch come next year.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby amykay on Sat May 31, 2008 1:25 pm

KELS, what would you propose they do with the books and computers that are on the 2nd floor of the library? Do you think a home for the Tewksbury Historical Society is more important that a library that serves the whole community? Many residents don't have computers/internet access they use the computers at the library. The library budget is less than 1.5% of the town budget, and cutting them takes services away from everyone, without making a dent in the overall deficit.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Sat May 31, 2008 2:25 pm

Bob F,

Some of those links are already at our website, although not necessarily called out as "how to set up your recycling bins." Users will have to dig into some of the links to find that info. I just did a quick surf and found a couple specific to that issue and have placed them below.

I personally think that the setup in your house and methods used to get recyclables out to curbside are the most important part of a household program. If it 10 times easier to just throw it away, that's what most people do. It definitely takes some effort though.

Here's how things went at our house when we started. We first planned to have two vertically stacked bins in the hallway closet next to the kitchen. (You are correct, Bob, 2 containers: one for paper and one for commingled items.) We would do a rinse on cans and plastics and put them in one bin. Paper and cardboard went into the bin below it, in an open brown paper bag (that can just be pulled out quickly when full).

We have one of the blue bins in our garage and use that just for paper/cardboard. Any big boxes are broken down/cut up so that they fit in the bin (that makes sure that they are small enough for the collection contractor). Sometimes, the brown paper bags with paper are left outside the bin when we place them curbside.

We also took one of our garbage cans and made it for commingled glass, plastic, and cans. We put a sticker on it to make it clearer for the collection contractor. This also sits in the garage.

When either bin was full, the items would be brought down to the garage. However, we had to clean the commingled items pretty well if they were going to be in the closet for a little while. We changed things so that we set the items next to the sink. As someone was going downstairs, they would grab the items and bring them to the garage. Because they got out of the house quicker, the rinsing didn't have to be as extensive. The paper/cardboard stayed in the closet.

When we redid our kitchen, we put our garbage in a pull out container in the cabinets....there were two containers in that pull out "cabinet." One is for trash. One is for commingled items. When that can gets full, we bring it down to the garage. I forgot to mention that we also have an area in the garage that is for returns, so when that commingled container is brought downstairs, it takes about 1 minute to pull out the returnables and put the rest in the commingled garbage can.

In our office, we have a can just for paper recycling. That way, we have 2 places to bring all the paper/cardboard items. It makes it less tempting to just throw away things like receipts, tags, junk mail, food boxes, etc. You would not believe how much all those little items add up.

Note that the things that take the most time are really just transporting items from one place to another. Once you figure out the best method for that, then you have to make sure you find the room to hold things for 2 weeks. You also have to be willing to break down boxes to a size that fits in the collection contractors trucks (2 ft x 3 ft).

Here are a couple of links:
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1438.pdf
http://lancaster.unl.edu/home/Articles/2002/RecyclingCenter.htm
http://apartments.about.com/od/apartmentliving/a/recycling.htm
http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-a-Home-Recycling-System
http://www.ecopod.org/
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby bferrari on Sat May 31, 2008 9:02 pm

This is great info and exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!

One last question, where can we get those red "Recycles" bumper stickers to put on our big recycling cans for those of use who have alot of stuff to put out and the small blue bins just aren't big enough [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Sat May 31, 2008 11:56 pm

They aren't red any longer. They are green and not that big. They are available at your nearest Town Hall or DPW.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby KELS on Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:04 am

Shot & Bob,

A Community Center for both Seniors and Teens would be a great way to improve the utilization of this facility.

Also, why not move the current Town Ofices into a portion of the Library. Maybe first floor for the Library and second floor for some Town Offices. That would eliminate some of the operating costs of the old Town Hall. Plus the Old Town Hall could become the home for a Town Historical Museum run by the Tewksbury Historical Society.

We ned some drastic solutions to reduce expenses piece by piece in conjunction with other revenue sources.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby Curiosity123 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:24 am

The reason the committee agrees with the selection of the program is that it has been shown to make people reduce their trash generation (so they don't have to purchase an extra container).


Sean... I read your two posts regarding your suggested sorting method... And thank you for Clarifying what I heard correctly....

Just so you know, we've tried comingling in the past and wasn't successful... We got big green warning stickers. To avoid another sticker... Our house NOW utilizes 3 small bins for recycling and two large trash cans for regular garbage. The small bins break down as follows... one for glass, one for plastic, one for cardboard and still we need TWO Large Trash bins for garbarge! Just so you know.. we are a small family and we do not get the newspaper delivered (we also utilize e-statements and ebilling) as it's a waste of paper. The only thing left for us to do is compost food waste (which we have a garbage disposal for some). I don't possibly see how we could reduce trash generation any further. Best of luck on your tri-town implementation!
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:44 am

Curiosity - It sounds like you may have a pretty good system for recycling....although I guess I am confused why commingled doesn't work for you. Why are you splitting up your plastic and glass? ...and where do cans go? I'll also assume that the cardboard bin holds your paper products.

I'm sorry to hear that you can't cut it down more than 2 large trash barrels. For a small family, that's actually pretty shocking. If you'd like me to come over and discuss it further with you, let me know.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby Curiosity123 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:54 am

cans and glass are together. Cardboard and paper products(we hardly ever use, other than tissues and papertowels)would be placed together.

I am uncomfortable with our junk mail such as credit card requests in those bins...

By the way which bin should those green/stirofoam fruit trays be placed and also empty juice boxes.
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Why an override is better than a trash fee

Postby sean_czarniecki on Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:46 pm

Swamper nailed it - If you want to get some answers to questions like that, head over to our website - http://www.tewksbury.info/recycle/index_files/faqs.htm

Styrofoam and "waxed" juice containers are not handled under our recycling program.

Curiosity - Regarding cardboard and paper products, make sure that any food boxes (e.g., pasta boxes, soda cartons, cereal, etc.) are recycled. I'm sorry that you feel that way about your junk mail, such as credit card requests, going in those bins. Ripping them in half should do the job, but how about shredding them first? If you head down to the library, there is a junk mail kit which you could use to reduce a lot of that coming to your house in the first place.

Just ideas....
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