Waste Hauler Overhaul/Curbside Composting Proposal Included In Town Manager Goals


Photo: grownashua.org. Creative Commons

The proposal to transition Amherst’s waste hauler system to town-contracted, including curbside compost pick up, a pay as you throw fee structure and local compost processing got some help from the Town Council when it adopted new Town Manager Goals for 2023 this month.

On Monday, January 9, the Town Council voted to add the waste hauler proposal to the 2023 Town Manager climate action goals with this language: “To continue to make progress on the Council’s Climate Action Goals:  …(3) Take necessary steps towards and support the Town Council in developing a waste-hauler bylaw that is feasible and meets the goals of offering universal curbside compost pick-up and pay-as-you-throw fee structure and, if adopted, start implementation; …”

This was an important milestone in the proposal’s progress. 

Meanwhile, the town obtained a Department of Environmental Protection technical assistance grant to assist staff in working on the elements of a potential hauler contract and RFP, which is in progress. 

The proposal to amend the Town Bylaw was sent to the Town Services and Outreach Committee in August of 2022. It will receive a recommendation from that committee and the Finance Committee regarding whether the Council should adopt the bylaw proposal. One or both of those committees will hold a public hearing.

Zero Waste Amherst (ZWA) has been pushing the proposal forward. Last fall, it created the Neighborhood Sustainability Teams program to seek volunteers to help do outreach and education upon launch of a new hauler system. (Please join!)

ZWA is also currently collecting data via a Trash, Recycling and Compost resident survey regarding the cost of our current waste hauling options. (Please complete!)

Many communities in Massachusetts have curbside compost pickup as an option/additional fee for residents, especially towns in Eastern Massachusetts served by Black Earth Compost. But some of those towns are realizing that for there to be more impactful waste and emissions reduction, the programs need to be offered town-wide. 

Two Town Committees have endorsed the hauler reform proposal – the Board of Health and the Energy and Climate Action Committee, as well as multiple groups in town including the
Amherst League of Women Voters, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, and many faith, food and climate-related groups.

See this Proposal resource list (for text of the bylaw, supporting memo, official actions taken, etc.).

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1 thought on “Waste Hauler Overhaul/Curbside Composting Proposal Included In Town Manager Goals

  1. Praise for all of the civic advocates and Darcy who have worked so long to advance this vitally important environmental measure. “Waste Hauler Reform” is a distractive phrase as the real goal here is removing thousands of tons of methane generating food waste from toxic land fills. Food waste is 35% to 40% of our waste stream. Imagine a 35% reduction in landfill dumping. Less tipping fees and diesel fuel, Just this week there was an article in the Globe about efforts to create more toxic land fills for Commonwealth waste in New Hampshire. Cross border shipments of garbage should be prohibited if not for the principle of state centered responsibility for their own trash but also the insane amounts of carbon generating diesel fuel required to rail freight or truck waste hundreds of miles to Seneca Meadows New York (300 miles away) or potentially northern New Hampshire.

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