AMESBURY — Hoping to better explain its new trash and recycling programs, representatives from the Department of Public Works appeared before the City Council last night to set the record straight.
Rob Desmarais and Laurie Pierce, who are the DPW director and administrative assistant respectively, gave a presentation to the council in order to explain what the DPW’s new programs are, why they were implemented and what changes in the state regulatory environment made them necessary.
“Our goals are to lower our costs at every opportunity,” Desmarais said during his introductory. “We want to promote good resource management for the city, negotiate the best services at the best rates possible … and to make Amesbury a cleaner and greener community.”
Desmarais explained that the main goal is to increase recycling and reduce trash disposal costs for the city. As part of Amesbury’s waste disposal contract with G. Mello Disposal Corp., the city pays a fee for all trash that is disposed of, but receives a cash rebate for everything that is recycled. That means the more residents recycle, the more money the city saves.
Pierce went on to explain where Amesbury stands right now.
“Amesbury’s recycling rate is about 25 percent,” Pierce said. “Over the past six years, Amesbury’s trash tonnage has dropped, and recycling has risen, but compare Amesbury to Newburyport, and Newburyport’s recycling rate is 10 percent more than Amesbury.”
Pierce went on to explain that five other local communities have recycling rates of 30 percent or more, and that there is room for improvement for Amesbury.
She also went over a chart explaining what makes up the contents of the average trash truck in Amesbury, and said 68 percent of it shouldn’t be there. Paper, plastic and glass comprise 42 percent of the typical trash load, despite the fact that all are collected as recyclables, and that banned materials like metals, electronics and hazardous household wastes make up another 26 percent of the average load, she said.