The following public comment was made at the meeting of the Amherst Board of Health On Thursday Feburary 10, 2022
I am Darcy DuMont and I live in South Amherst. I’m a member of Zero Waste Amherst (ZWA) and have been working on reforming the waste hauler system in town so that we can have more services including curbside compost pick up in basic service – for the same or less money than what we are paying now to a big national hauler.
I am here tonight to update you on the work of the Zero Waste Amherst hauler workgroup. First, we want to thank the Board for its statement of support, made at your last meeting. That is very helpful in moving the initiative forward.
First, I want to report that as of January 1, California became the first state to require all individuals and businesses to compost by way of systems set up by each municipality.
Since last month, the ZWA hauler group has been focused on meeting with the haulers to get input, meeting with other towns that have contracts with a hauler, and getting financial information about those contracts. What we have learned is that folks in South Hadley pay an annual waste hauling fee to the town of less than $200 a year for the same services we get here in Amherst for approximately $5-600 a year. Those South Hadley residents do have to pay for their trash bags but they still end up paying half what Amherst residents pay in a year. South Hadley is served by Republic Services.
South Hadley, though, doesn’t provide curbside compost pickup, so to find a town that includes that service, we looked at Louisville, Colorado, which is about the same size as Amherst and is also served by Republic. In Louisville, you pay according to the size of your trash toter – small, medium or large. The residents who use a small,35 gallon toter pay under $200/yr and there is no additional charge for bags. The more waste you make, the more you pay but 95% of residents see some savings even including the extra compost pick up services.
We met with USA Hauling and Recycling this week and are meeting with Republic soon to get input about our proposal.
ZWA is pushing this program because it will dramatically reduce waste and help achieve our climate goals. The fact that it will save residents money is just icing on the cake.
We’d be glad to answer any questions and otherwise, will see you next month with our next update on the proposal. If any member would like to meet with us individually to get a briefing, please let us know.