Grant funds propel Green Bag Program forward

by Town Reminder

Grant funds propel Green Bag Program forward
By Kristin Will
Staff Writer,

SOUTH HADLEY – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [MassDEP] has awarded South Hadley a Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant of $47,992 to use for the implementation of the pay-as-you-throw Green Bag Program.
The program is replacing the town’s current means of collecting trash beginning July 1 in an effort to encourage more recycling in the community. Currently, residents pay $30 per person in each household every year in curbside collection fees. A single person household would pay $30 per year for trash pickup, while a two-person household would pay $60, a three-person household would pay $90, and so on and so forth.
With this Green Bag Program, no longer will residents pay the $30 per person annual fee. Rather, residents will purchase large or small green-colored trash bags from local stores for $1 or 50 cents, respectively. These bag fees replace the previous $30 per person fee. Trash bills will no longer be sent to residents.
The Selectboard approved the purchase of 875 cases of 35.6 gallon green bags (the large size) and 375 cases of 14.8 gallon green bags (the small size) from a company called WasteZero. There are 40 rolls of bags to a case and five bags to a roll.
The green bags will be labeled with what items residents can recycle. The bags will be packaged as a group of five per pack. The large bags are 36 inches high and 34 inches wide. They are 1.9 millimeters thick. Small bags are 28 inches high, 24 inches wide and are 1.5 millimeters thick. Large bags fit a typical 32-gallon trash barrel, while the small trash bags fit a typical kitchen-sized trash can.
Curbside collection of trash and recycling will not change, continuing to occur every other week. The green bags may be placed at the curb alone or inside trash barrels. Trash put out in bags other than those issued by the town will not be collected.
The money collected from the cost of the green bags, estimated to total $212,500, will be put toward the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. The total cost to the town for purchasing this first inventory of large and small bags is $66,871.25. Nearly half of that cost, $30,992, will be covered by the MassDEP grant. The remaining $35,879.25 will be covered by the Solid Waste Operating Budget.
Approximately 2,000 recycling bins will be purchased with the other portion of MassDEP grant funds, which will also cover the cost for printing the recycling calendar and flyers for marketing.
The idea for the pay-as-you-throw Green Bag Program began in 2007 when the Selectboard appointed a Solid Waste Advisory Committee [SWAC], which was put in charge of finding a way to remove trash for a time when the South Hadley landfill closes. This waste reduction program did well in other communities and SWAC got to work hashing out the particulars.
Starting in early June, the green bags will be available for purchase at both the town’s Big Y locations, Cumberland Farms on Newton Street, Gagne’s Market on Amherst Road, O’Connell’s Convenience stores on Granby Road and Newton street, Rocky’s Ace Hardware, Stop’n’Go on Bardwell Street, Tailgate and White Wing Mobil.
Residents may choose to opt out of the program and secure a contract with a private trash removal company.