WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Out with the old, in with the new ways of waste management. Before April first, West Springfield residents recycled by separating paper and cardboard from the bottles and cans. They were allowed to leave an unlimited number of trash bags on the tree belt for pick-up.
“That is pretty much considered the old way of doing it,” Waste Management Director Michael Pattavina said. “We’ve been doing it that way for 25 years. Well, things have changed.”
Now, each household gets two bins. One for trash and a bigger one for recyclables, with clear instructions.
“We want residents to divert what they would throw away as trash to now put it in the recycling bin, because this is where the town saves money,” Pattavina said.
The town pays $80 per ton of trash that they dump at Bondi’s Island, but they get money back when they recycle.
So far, in the program’s first two months, trash generation is down 22%, recycling is up 78%. That’s a savings of roughly $23,000, and it’s all done with less manpower from contractor Republic Services.
Fewer, more efficient trucks can make 900 stops a day using an automatic claw. Old trucks, which required manpower, could only make about 600. Many residents say they wish the bins were bigger, but still think the program is a success.
“You throw stuff that is recyclable in there, and the other stuff you regular trash,” lifelong resident Mark Morris said. “As long as they don’t make a big issue if you end up throwing something in the wrong container and fine you, i’m fine. I think it’s a good idea.”
“The animals don’t get in your trash and two it’s actually easier just to wheel it,” resident Bob Dearing said.
Cattavina says other towns, both near and far, have called asking about how they can start a similar program.
At the current pace, the new ways of waste should save the town about $140,000 annually for the general fund.
Residents can also purchase more bins or bags for extra trash or exchange their bins for smaller ones.
There are also foreign language intructions for those who do not speak English as a first language.