Department of Environmental Protection Holds Webinar To Assist Towns On Contracting For Hauling Services

USA Trucking, Amherst's current solid waste hauler, delivering compostable trash to Martin's farm in Greenfield. Photo: Art Keene

By Darcy DuMont

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a free municipal training October 19, entitled “Contracting for Solid Waste & Recycling Services”. The featured speaker was John Giorgio, Esq.from KP Law, who shared valuable information and guidance regarding municipal contracting for solid waste and recycling services.

The webinar was a timely one for Amherst, which is currently looking at a bylaw proposal to reform our hauler system to reduce our waste by at least 40%. The proposal would provide town contracted hauling along with universal curbside compost pick up. The proposal is currently being considered in the Town Services and Outreach Committee, which will be making a recommendation back to the town Council. 

The issue of whether to switch to a town contract with a hauler for residential and commercial waste hauling is actually a bigger issue than whether to include universal curbside compost pick up in the mix. It would require the town to devote staff to figuring out how the program would run. The town would need to set up a system to bill residents (Amherst has a solid waste enterprise fund already and bills residents for other services), compose a Request for Proposals and a contract (using sample RFPs that will be provided by our DEP Western Massachusetts Municipal Assistance Coordinator), and write some new Board of Health waste hauler regulations, a draft of which already exists. Although the start up of the program would take some effort, ongoing staffing and support needed would be minimal. 

Currently, virtually all single-family homes in Amherst receive subscription waste services from USA Hauling and Recycling, unless they have opted to use Amherst Transfer Station services. By making the switch to town-contracted services though a competitive bidding process, and incorporating a pay-as-you-throw fee structure as well as compost pick up, we would save most residents money and reduce our waste by at least 40%. Most residents with hauler services pay more than $500/year. The change would be good for the environment and for our pocketbooks!

See the Zero Waste Amherst Frequently Asked Questions about the Universal Curbside Compost PickUp Bylaw Proposal, including the councilors’ questions and ZWA answers to those questions. The Town Services and Outreach Committee will next take up the issue on November 10, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. on zoom.To view a recording of the DEP workshop look here. Look here for Mass DEP’s solid waste management contract guidance.

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