|by Christina Platt, Chad Fuller, Laura Rojo MacLeod, and Darcy DuMont|
The Zero Waste Amherst (ZWA) task teams have been working since January on the main areas of concern for the Town of Amherst: recycling, composting, and plastics. We researched, contacted experts, had meetings online, designed guidelines and educational steps, started a website and a Facebook page and created brochures as well. We know that many of you share our concern for the ecocide happening on our planet and we need your help! We believe that by acting locally while thinking globally each of us can definitely make a good difference to the community. The time is now. Let’s go green Amherst!
As you probably know, in January, 2019, USA Waste and Recycling bought Duseau Hauling and Amherst Trucking. Over the past two years, rates for waste and recycling services have increased 50% to 100% and residents are at a disadvantage in doing anything about this. Short of organizing an effective boycott, there are only two options: use USA or the transfer station. The classic oligopoly. As someone pointed out, the pay per bag method is best for the environment, but it’s not realistic to expect everyone needing to dispose of trash and recycling materials to haul their own to the transfer station. But if we promptly start organizing in each neighborhood, we believe it can be done.
While it may be true that the USA’s “costs for labor, disposal, and insurance” have risen, it’s impossible to determine what the actual figures are. Whenever utilities increase their rates, they’re required to justify that hike to regulators.
Not so with these private hauling firms! USA doesn’t even post their prices – what other business could get away with that?
ZWA’s Hauler Reform Committee is currently studying two alternative options: having the Town of Amherst contract directly with haulers or cutting the haulers out entirely and providing waste and recycling services through the DPW. Either of these options will require strong citizen support. And they will take time to implement. In the meantime, anyone interested in reigning in USA is welcome to join our Hauler Reform Committee. Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us on Facebook.
May the New Year find us all together, protecting our commons, with less plastics, more composting, more native trees abd everywhere, bikes…Happy New Year 2021! Ring the bells of hope, health & love for all!
Christina Platt, Chad Fuller, Laura Rojo MacLeod, and
Darcy DuMont are all members of Zero Waste Amherst