Source: Zero Waste Amherst
Zero Waste Amherst is conducting a survey to collect data on the cost to Amherst residents of available trash hauling services and about the range of services for trash disposal and recycling that they would be likely to use if such services were available. The survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, seeks responses from residents who currently subscribe for waste hauling with USA Waste and Recycling, those who take their trash, recycling and compost to the Transfer Station, and those who live in multi-family living situations with contracted waste hauling services. The survey can be accessed here.
The survey will provide valuable data in support of efforts to minimize waste and boost recycling in Amherst. In particular, it will provide feedback to the town about a proposal currently under consideration by the Town Council for Amherst to move to a town wide contract with a waste hauler. This proposal would likely reduce our trash by at least 40% by requiring that the hauler contract include curbside compost pick up (including food scraps and other compostable materials), local compost processing, and a pay-as-you-throw fee structure that would incentivize waste reduction. Zero Waste Amherst also hopes to give all residents access to Transfer Station services for a small monthly charge. As written, the first phase of the proposal would apply only to single family and 2-4 family homes. A later phase would include multi-family units, homeowners’ associations and businesses.
Of the eleven largest municipalities in Western MA, only two communities (Amherst and Northampton) do not yet have either a municipal contract with a hauler or provide trash hauling directly. Providing a town contract that is arranged through a competitive bidding process reduces the cost to residents substantially. South Hadley and Agawam residents pay approximately $200 per year for trash and recycling services under town contracts, while our current data suggest that the average Amherst residential household using hauler services pays about $525 per year. Although South Hadley and Agawam charges don’t include curbside compost pick up, many other communities do. The annual hauler fee for Louisville, Colorado residents using small toters a receiving curbside compost pckup is only $188 per year.