Switching household trash and recycling collection to a pay as you throw system has reduced both Grafton and Northborough's expenses for this service, officials from the towns told Westborough officials Monday night.
Westborough's Ad Hoc Pay As You Throw Committee met for the first time since selectmen organized it Oct. 23. Town Manager Jim Malloy suggested the committee. Selectmen ultimately will hold a public hearing on the committee's recommendations. Malloy has said pay as you throw could be part of Westborough's budget discussions for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013.
Monday night at Westborough Town Hall, Grafton Assistant Town Administrator Kevin Mizikar said Grafton spent about $1 million on trash and recycling collection in 2008. Under pay as you throw, Grafton pays $376,193. The town has $797,686 in expenses, with revenues of $421,493.
Northborough Town Engineer Frederic Litchfield Jr. said his town has reduced its amount of trash from about 5,000 tons 10 years ago to 2,200 tons now.
Westborough does not offer curbside trash and recycling.
Rather, residents pay $120 for a sticker (and $60 for a second sticker) for access to a transfer station available through Westborough's contract with E.L. Harvey and Sons, according to the Westborough Board of Health website. Seniors pay half price for the stickers.
"This has been really helpful to hear the first-hand experiences of what you do to get started," Selectmen Chairman Leigh Emery said.
Mizikar said Grafton residents pay 75 cents per 15-gallon bag and $1.50 per 30-gallon bag.
Town officials used such means as local cable access programs to educate residents early on, Mizikar said.
"We had a few naysayers to start with, people saying they were going to bring their trash to town hall," he said.
Pay as you throw offers "clear benefits to the town and to the residents," Mizikar said.
Mizikar added that "the ease of recycling is huge."
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