Dublin contemplates pay-as-you-throw system

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/4/2021 2:15:04 PM

Dublin residents could see a proposal for pay-as-you-throw charges at the town Transfer Station on the warrant in March.

During its meeting Tuesday, the board discussed a proposal for a pay-as-you-throw system with Transfer Station Superintendent Tom Kennedy.

The basic concept of pay-as-you-throw systems charges people a set amount for each bag they throw away at the transfer station, rather than recycle. Bags can be purchased at locations such as the Transfer Station, the Town Hall or the local general store. This is the most popular version of the system in New Hampshire. Other systems include paying for multiple different sizes of trash cans, with the largest being the most expensive, or sticker or tag programs, where people attach pre-paid stickers to their trash bags.

The charged-for bags typically don’t include the recycled products deposited by residents.

About a quarter of the state’s population live in a community with some version of a pay-as-you-throw program, including residents of Peterborough and Keene.

In Keene’s system, 33-gallon bags cost $2 to throw, or $4 for bags larger than 33 gallons, and 10 cents per pound for loose refuse.

In Peterborough, which also services Sharon, 33-gallon bags are purchased for $15 for a roll of 10 bags, or $7.50 for a 10-bag roll of 15-gallon bags.

Kennedy said he supports the idea of implementing a paid bag system in Dublin, saying he has been a proponent of the idea since 2000. Typically, when residents are under a pay-as-you-throw system, it significantly increases the amount of recycling that is done, as residents attempt to reduce their amount of waste.

For example, in Concord, since implementing a pay-as-you-throw program, residents recycled 4,855 of waste in 2014, compared to 2,291 tons in 2009, prior to their program. They have reduced the annual cost of solid waste transfer by about $2 million.

Similarly, in Tilton, it was reported that residents disposed of 622 tons of garbage in 2014, after pay-as-you-throw was implemented, compared to 1,306 tons in 2012.

The board did not object to the concept, agreeing it would likely increase recycling and recycling revenue in town, but also agreed the ultimate decision of whether Dublin should adopt a pay-as-you-throw system should be a decision of Town Meeting.

The board approved continuing the discussion to devise a proposal as part of this year’s budget discussions, with the anticipation of including a pay-as-you-throw warrant article in the 2022 warrant.

The board also briefly discussed the ongoing efforts to construct a permanent storage building at the transfer station, noting that if recycling is expected to increase under a pay-as-you-throw system, the storage will be needed.

The town strongly supported a permanent building at the Transfer Station, as opposed to using storage trailers, in a vote at Town Meeting this year, and approved funds for the building.

The town has hired a project manager to oversee the construction project, and is moving forward with the project, and expects to have it completed within a year, Town Administrator Kate Fuller said.

“There is no indication it won’t,” Fuller said. “There are some challenges, but we will overcome them.”

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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