Trash and Recycling Hearing Notes – February 28

Commissioner Moosey of DPW gives overview with Powerpoint.

Comprehensive Clean City Program

Implementation of Clean Team:

High amount of litter, takes attractiveness away from the city

There are no members of this team now; this would be 6 new positions: 2 additional nuisance inspectors, 4 to clean up.  We currently only have 1 nuisance inspector, who mostly handles solid waste issues (early bag leave out, illegal bags, some dumping).

Need for education on recycling.  The person who is collecting trash/recycling would put a sticker on something unacceptable; follow up from nuisance inspector.  Value of recycling commodities has gotten very low.

They will hire a PR firm to assist with the education.  The education campaign will be funded by a DEP grant.  This can be done regardless.  They will see which methods are most effective so that this can be sent to all residents.  Continual new residents who would need to be educated.

Will information be on the new bags?  Yes, but will be more graphic so more universally understood.

Waste Containers in Business Districts

Currently, businesses or groups will put a barrel out, but they will pay themselves for them to be emptied/maintained.  The city will empty and maintain going forward.

Hoping for 2 grants each per council district to assist with neighborhood cleanups.

Expanded Hours and Services on Millbury Street

This would allow for residential disposal of construction and demolition debris.

You can bring your recycling to Millbury Mon-Sat ’til 4pm if you miss your recycling day.

Drop off of yellow bag is a lot more complicated and cannot be done at the moment.

Curbside Textile Collection

Separate bag for textile materials that will be mailed by the vendor.  On trash collection day, the pink bag will be collected at no charge to the city or the resident, and will be recycled.

Litter in the Neighborhoods

(Bob Fiore mostly doing the talking now)

Bungee cord, brown paper bag on top have all been tried.  Two wheeled carts were first thing they looked at, did pilot program in the winter, and it didn’t work well. Carts weren’t placed where they needed to be, was too congested with snow, held up traffic on streets they tried it on.

Discussion of the clear plastic bags, and how AWESOME they are.  Also, the cost of the plastic bags.

Question about smaller clear bags.  Bag breaker will be calibrated to take a certain size bag, so it can’t be a different size.  Corrugated cardboard can go in the clear bag.

Russell asks for report about the $600,000 amount and what represents in pennies to the total cost.

3 clear bags/roll of 10 large or small bags.  For those who need additional clear bags, would be sold in rolls of 10 for 15 cents a piece (subsidized – the cost is 25 cents, I think).

If the recycling has flown out of the bin BEFORE the truck comes by, Casella are not obligated to collect it

Cost of Recycling

perception of the public is that recycling is free and that it’s always been free — neither is the case.

Value of recycling products has decreased dramatically from the past — the cost of processing (not collecting) used to be made back by the value of recycling.  In the current year, we are now $300,000 behind.

Bags would get us to co-collection quicker, but unclear if that is on the table.

Questions about other towns — the clear bag trial was a copy of Boston’s program.

(Discussion of how the rolling bins would be impossible.  I’ve seen these in other cities, including Cork, Ireland, so I’m not sure why Worcester can’t have nice things.)

They still buy 3,000 bins a year.

Questions from Councilor Wally

Educational component should have video – easily shared, can be seen what can/can’t be recycled.

Business districts – could we continue to look at having private contractors remove so that they don’t lose that business?

Allow for yellow trash bags to be dropped off at Millbury St or Foley Stadium.

He talks about the balance of trash and recycling bags.  Could people buy a-la-carte, but at actual cost of the bag?

Moosey responds: the equation doesn’t work for everyone.

Questions from Councilor Mero-Carlson:

Continuing questions about number of bags.  (This is utterly boring, I can’t type any more about this.)

Some of businesses that sell bags – if someone comes in and pays with charge card, upcharge to business.  Asking businesses to take trash bags and take a cut on it.  Is there a way to be helpful to the businesses?  (Answer: not really, if we charge more, it’s passed on to the consumer.)

What other cities use the clear bag program?  There is none local to here, but will get a list of them from around the nation.

Any idea what the grants for neighborhoods would look like?

Did we send the clear bags out to bid?  Who did we send them out to?

Comments from the public

Arthur Mooradian – business district trash containers.  Have been picking these up about 5 years. One problem they have is that people do not like to pay for trash removal.  Residents wait for it to be cleared out.  Russell recommends that people call DPW when they see this happening.  Education is a major component in solving the litter problem.  Could there be a waiver program for people who can’t afford trash pickup?  Making an appointment for Millbury Street is problematic for some as well.

(didn’t get the name) – education is going to be a priority.  As a firefighter, saw people who didn’t know how to dispose of trash.  No problem with his recycling bin.  Doesn’t think this is something that should be curtailed.  Contamination…what happens to it?  Sticker placed, but will it stay out there?  Can’t Millbury Street be open without an appointment?

(sorry, not a lot of notes as I was in line to speak)