Want Your Trash Picked up, Recycle
Westford's 1994 mandatory recycling policy will be enforced starting February 1.
At their November 27, 2012 meeting, the Westford Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to enforce the mandatory recycling policy instituted in 1994. This policy states:
"All residents using the town trash collection services are required to separate from their other waste the following items, herein referred to as recyclables:
- All (clean) glass bottles and jars, clear and colored.
- All (clean) aluminum and tin cans
- All (clean) plastic containers with the number “1” (PETE) or the “2” (HDPE) on the bottom.
The above items must be clean, set out, separate from other trash and in recycling bins, on alternate weeks as determined by the existing schedule for recycling pick up. If no attempt is made to set out recyclables, or if a significant amount of recyclables are seen in the trash, the trash may be left behind and not taken by the trash collectors."
This Westford policy is supported by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) “waste ban”. The waste ban was put into effect in 1990 and states ”No person shall dispose, transfer for disposal, or contract for disposal any of the restricted material “. Restricted materials include aluminum containers, metal or glass, #1 and #2 plastics, and paper - items that are readily and easily recylable.
Enforcement? According to the letter sent to residents in their most recent property tax bills and as stated in Westford’s policy above: “Starting February 1, those of you who do not recycle will no longer have your trash picked up by the Town trash hauler.”
One of the main reasons for enforcing the policy now is financial. The Town pays $71 per ton for trash taken to the incinerator. Residents who do not recycle are throwing away an estimated 1400 tons of recyclables costing taxpayers $98,000 annually. They are also risking having the town and its trash hauler fined by MassDEP.
Westford Recycling Commission Chair, Kris Erickson, says "We are trying to make it as easy as possible. All recyclables can go now go in the same container. Large, wheeled bins are available at a cost of $40 ($45 on July 1). If people don’t want to buy a bin or toter, they can use any sturdy container and we will give them a free “RECYCLE” sticker to put on it." Stickers are available the Town Clerk's office.
For those households already recycling, on your recycling days make sure to leave your recycling bin out until after the trash hauler comes. On weeks where your household is NOT scheduled for recycling, just put out your trash as you normally would and it will be collected. If you aren't recycling yet, the Westford Recycling Commission is available to help you get started. They have a wealth of information available in the recycling guide, on the website, facebook and by phone.
The Commission would also like to make clear that no one will be going through your trash looking for recyclables. According to Commission members, many households put out trash barrels with cardboard boxes and plastics readily visible when driving by. These are the obvious violations the Commission is trying to reduce.
Westford’s policy is a small step in comparison to many other Massachusetts municipalities. Many towns in the Commonwealth are moving toward Pay as You Throw (PAYT) systems. In this scenario, residents pay for each bag of trash they dispose of over some base level, generally $2 per bag. In towns such as Shrewsbury, Worcester and Natick, that base level is zero. Residents pay for every bag they dispose of. In other towns, such as neighboring Chelmsford, residents pay for any trash over the two 32 gallon barrels they are allowed per week.