Town Hopes Recycling Plan Boosts Coffers
By Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.
Jul. 16–TEWKSBURY — Recycling offenders, beware.
In just a few weeks, your trash may be left sitting at the curb.
Selectmen voted unanimously last night to implement a visual recycling program starting on Sept. 1 to boost Tewksbury’s recycling rate and save the town thousands of dollars along the way.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be opening people’s trash bags,” Carolyn Dann, the Northeast regional recycling director for the state Department of Environmental Protection, was quick to say. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to rattle the bags and say: ‘Oh, there’s a bottle in there.’”
Instead, the town’s trash hauler will not collect clearly visible recyclables that have been placed in the solid-waste stream.
Banned items would include recyclable paper, cardboard, glass, metal and plastic. Prior to the Sept. 1 implementation of the program, a “friendly reminder” will be left behind at households that already have any such items mixed in with their trash.
Communities across Massachusetts have already implemented similar programs with great success, Dann said. Chelmsford saw its solid-waste tonnage decrease by 8 percent the year after doing so. Billerica saw a 9 percent drop in just nine months.
Dann predicted that Tewksbury could see a savings of 1,250 tons of solid waste or $90,000 in fiscal 2009 alone once the new policy is put in place.
Selectman Jerry Selissen said last night that he would like to see the program offer a
further incentive by funneling most of its savings back into the town’s cash-strapped schools. The board instructed Town Manager David Cressman to look into the matter and report back during its next meeting.
The visual recycling program is supported in part by a shared $40,000, two-year recycling enforcement grant that was awarded to Billerica, Chelmsford and Tewksbury in November.
That money has gone toward hiring a municipal recycling-enforcement coordinator, who will assist trash haulers in overseeing and enforcing the program in all three communities.
In other business, Selectmen Chairman Todd Johnson announced that his board will hold a joint meeting with the School Committee on Wednesday, July 30, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall to appoint a successor for School Committee member Keith Rauseo.
Rauseo unexpectedly resigned from the committee last month, saying that his work during the town’s turbulent budget process had too great an effect on his family in general and on his wife’s health in particular.
Applications for the position can be obtained by visiting the office of Sandra Barbeau, assistant to the town manager, at Town Hall. The applications must be returned by noon on Friday, July 25.
For more information, call (978) 640-4300.
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