Closest Place To Dump Trash

Closest Place To Dump Trash – Seriously, is this the best we can do? In 2013, we paid $163 million to bury or burn materials that could have been sold for $217 million

FOR YEARS, HOMEOWNERS in Lynn have faced no restrictions on garbage disposal. Technically, his weekly distribution was six barrels of trash, but if extra barrels were placed on the curb, they were always picked up. Mattresses, sofas and other large items were collected free of charge. But new regulations went into effect in December limiting each household to one 64-gallon garbage cart per week. If homeowners need to throw away more, they must now use special purple bags that cost $3 each. Removal of a mattress or couch costs $20.

Closest Place To Dump Trash

In a city with one of the lowest recycling rates in the state, Lynn officials hope new litter regulations will make people think twice before throwing recyclable items in the trash . The goal is to reduce the amount of trash that must be burned at a Saugus waste-to-energy plant at a cost of $64 a ton. Last year, Lynn spent more than $2 million burning its trash, and city officials say up to 80 percent of that trash could have been recycled.

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Julia Greene, the city’s recycling coordinator, says the new regulations recognize that the city’s trash policies cannot continue. “Lynn can’t afford it,” he says. “No one can.”

Litter is one of those problems that Massachusetts residents stare in the face every day. However, it hardly attracts attention because few people are exposed to the bad factor of landfills and garbage incinerators. We put the trash on the sidewalk and they go. But now we’re starting to run out of places to put it. Landfills, where garbage is dumped on the ground and buried, are filling to capacity and closing. No new garbage incinerators are being built. Exports are the only area of ​​growth; The state currently projects that out-of-state trash shipments will double over the next six years. Many experts are betting that trash disposal costs will skyrocket as our disposal options become more limited.

The most alarming thing about the state’s trash problem is that it’s so preventable. We know how to reduce waste production and we know how to turn recycled materials into money and jobs. We just don’t. “What we’ve done for the last 30 years hasn’t done much,” says Stephen Lisauskas, vice president of government affairs for WasteZero, a North Andover company that works with municipalities to reduce their trash output and increase recycling . “We’re throwing away a lot of money that we shouldn’t be.”

Part of the problem is political. The state’s environmental and business communities have been locked in a struggle over the bottle deposit law for most of the past 30 years, first to pass the bill and then to expand its scope. The fight has tended to overshadow the state’s larger trash problems. Voters in November overwhelmingly rejected a ballot question that would have expanded bottle deposits, and since then there have been some attempts to find common ground, but the fight continues.

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The other challenge is the mindset of most residents of the state. They don’t think about garbage collection like other municipal services. Cities and towns meter their water and sewer services: the more you use, the more you pay. But only a third of the state’s 351 cities and towns charge for trash the same way. Most municipalities let their residents think there is no limit to the amount of trash they can throw at the curb. As a result, these communities on average throw away about 55 percent more trash than communities that charge residents a per-bag fee.

Even Lynn officials acknowledge their recent move to limit trash output to one 64-gallon cart a week is a small step on the road to litter reduction. The new carts are designed to both automate the trash collection process and limit trash disposal. A family that takes out one cartload of trash per week could still generate roughly 2,330 pounds of trash per year, or about 863 pounds for each person in a typical Lynn home. That’s 45 percent more trash than the average Massachusetts resident generates.

Andrew Hall, the head of Lynn’s Department of Public Works, says the city’s approach is realistic. There was pretty strong resistance to the new 64-gallon-a-week trash limit, so he says he never seriously considered going with a program that would have charged residents based on how much trash they take out. sidewalk. “People would show up here with knives and forks if I did that,” he says.

State environmental officials dutifully publish 10-year plans, with detailed litter reduction goals, but they always seem to fall short. In 1990, the ten-year plan called for 54% of the state’s trash to be buried or burned and 46% to be recycled. By 2000, the state was burning or burying 66 percent of its trash and recycling 34 percent. In 2010, we are supposed to burn or bury 2.1 million tons of trash per year. Instead, we made more than double that amount: 4.7 million tons. By 2020, the current plan calls for that number to drop to nearly 3.8 million tons and then to 1 million by 2050.

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No one puts much stock in numbers. Even the Department of Environmental Protection, which develops the ten-year plans, sets out two scenarios for 2020: a basic recycling scenario, where recycling follows the pace of garbage generation, and an increased recycling scenario, where recycling grows at a much faster rate. Dual scenarios characterize a bureaucracy that sends mixed signals.

State environmental officials have the tools to curb the landfilling and burning of trash, but they lack the money and power to put those tools to good use. The budget for the state’s environmental protection agency, which has responsibilities that go well beyond trash, was cut by 25 percent during the Great Recession and has never recovered. The number of employees working at the agency is down 30 percent from a decade ago, and their absence is reflected in ways big and small. A small example: the State’s data on garbage and recycling at municipal level are full of holes; many cities and towns no longer even make both reports to the state.

Waste bans are one of the tools available to state officials, but they are not aggressively enforced. In 1990, the state began banning easily recyclable items from landfills and incinerators, and the list of banned items has grown over time to include paper, textiles, plastic, metal, glass, and food waste . However, for years the state enforced the bans with what might be called an honor system. Three full-time inspectors were finally hired in October 2013, but they seem to spend most of their time educating people about the bans. If a truck dropping off trash at a landfill or incinerator contains prohibited items, state officials say inspectors trace the prohibited materials to the source and work with the generator to remove them. A request to accompany an inspector to work was refused.

State data shows that nearly half of the trash that is burned or buried in Massachusetts could be recycled, meaning residents are paying millions of dollars to dispose of valuable commodities. WasteZero estimates that municipalities and businesses spent nearly $163 million in 2013 disposing of just seven types of recyclables, including plastics, textiles, metals and paper, which could have been sold for $217 million.

Nordic Waste War

Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massa-chusetts Public Interest Research Group, says the state’s trash problems need much more visibility. He worked as part of an executive committee that helped craft the state’s 2020 master plan and came away thinking it was time for a highly visible crackdown on trash scoffing that would make the ‘waste disposal was a main problem. “I don’t want to hear about education anymore. I want someone to pay a fine that hurts,” he says. “We’ve got to really step it up.”

Many believe the state’s trash problems will gain more visibility if the cost of disposal increases. Garbage generation fell during the recession and disposal prices also fell. Now that the economy is starting to recover, the expectation is that people will buy more and throw more away. But this growth in garbage comes at a time when landfills are closing and new incinerators are not being built. An estimated 1.5 million tons of landfill capacity will be lost in Massachusetts by 2020. The only place trash goes is out of state to more trash-friendly places like New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, and North Carolina.

Kurt Macnamara of the Devens Recycling Center, which processes construction and demolition debris and ships much of it out of state by rail to Ohio, predicts waste disposal costs.

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