NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 30, 2013

DEP's push on trash bundling not best for town

To the editor:

Your Daily News story “Merrimac receives grant to change to bags” (Dec. 13) is typical of the many stories I have seen regarding trash and recycling services in 20 years of working for the National Waste & Recycling Association, the trade association for the recycling and waste services industry.

The Massachusetts chapter of our association applauds Merrimac officials as good stewards of the environment and the public purse, since they are exploring more efficient and effective ways to manage and pay for trash and recycling services. Still, we consistently oppose the DEP grant condition forcing localities to require haulers to charge one bundled rate for both trash and recycling services.

We alternatively encourage communities to pass bylaws that require all homeowners and businesses to recycle. Citizens and businesses have to source separate their discards before we can collect them and get these materials to proper recycling or disposal facilities, but we cannot require our customers to do this. The authority to do so resides with local officials. Once citizens and businesses know that recycling is required, the economics and competition within our marketplace ensure customers get the required services at the best rates and service level possible.

The best recycling programs are based on generator responsibility. We therefore urge Merrimac not to pursue DEP’s bundled rate grant provision and instead choose to improve its recycling program by adopting a more effective generator recycling responsibility bylaw.

Steve Changaris

Massachusetts chapter manager

National Waste & Recycling Association

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