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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

A New Era Begins - Recycling Week Is Every Week

Just a reminder that today marks the beginning of a new era in Brattleboro trash and recycling history. As of today, recycling is being picked up every week.

No more does anyone have to wonder if this week is the right week to put out the recycling. Every week is the right week.

No longer will recycling bins be filled to epic proportions while waiting for recycling day. Weekly pickup will make it easy to keep the bin filled to a manageable level.

This is something I've been looking forward to for a long time, and believe will help people by making recycling even easier by making it more regular.

Curbside compost pickup is also getting underway, and I'm looking forward to hearing how people are using it. We've been discussing a rearragement of indoor bins and sorting at our place, and making a list of the few things that must still go in the trash. It seems easier than looking at lists of what to recycle and compost, since so much can go in that direction now.

Maybe our slogan should be: Brattleboro - Classy Trash.

(Yeah, I'm setting you all up with that one, I know...)

Anyhow, a round of applause for weekly recycling and crubside compost pickup. Let's see what we can accomplish with it.


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Weekly recycling is such a good idea- this makes me very happy! I moved here from Boston where -in my neighborhood- trash and recycling was picked up twice a week. It was quite an adjustment to go from that to the twice a month schedule - this will be a welcome change.


Are you sure about this, Chris?

I just checked the Windham Solid Waste site (5:30 AM, Tuesday, 5/21), and they still show a bi-weekly schedule. I'm guessing that they haven't updated their calendar yet but thought I'd ask. I sure hope you're right, as that would simplify things just a little bit for all of us and make recycling that much more convenient.


100% Sure

I just had mine picked up about 20 minutes ago. It was about the only recycling out on the street because under the old system, this was an "off" week. But not any more, so the truck was really steaming along.

Mosski had been keeping us COW participants in the loop on this stuff and he's been saying for 6 months that weekly recycling was going to start along with the COW pick up which started yesterday.


Thanx, Paul. That's good news.



Town Manager made mention

Announced at the recent Selectboard meeting a few weeks ago, too.


Public recycle containers needed in town

I keep wondering why the town does not have recycle containers next to the public trash bins in town. Does anyone know why? Or what the proper step would be to be about getting the town to do this?


A Few

There are a few public recycling bins that I know of - there may be others. There are bins at Pliny Park on Main Street and in front of the Transportation Center on Flat Street.


Thanx. Chris & Lise.



How we manage it

The kitchen has two compost containers -- a small, lidded one on the counter for "wet compost" (anything stinky, rott-able, or likely to get moldy) and a 5-gallen bucket on the floor for "dry compost" (paper scraps, nutshells, kleenex, and stuff that will dry out without rotting, like clementine skins).

The kitchen also has a trash container, a bin for paper recycling, and a bin for glass/plastic/can recycling. Cardboard gets broken down and kept in the pantry.

Each bathroom has a small white bucket for dry compost (repurposed peanut butter buckets from the co-op), which typically means toilet paper rolls, kleenex, and q-tips. There is also a (very) small trash can in each bathroom.

Each bedroom has a trash can, a bin for paper recycling, and a 5-gallon bucket for dry compost.

There is a special 5-gallon bucket with a Gamma lid (airtight and odor-tight plastic screw-top) in the cellar next to the cat litter.

I also have a small white bucket on top of our dryer for dry compost in the cellar.

Once a week or as needed, we consolidate the contents of the compost buckets, trash cans, and recycling bins into larger curbside bins.

I layer the dry and wet compost in the curbside bin, with dry compost going in first. It helps to keep the curbside container tidier.

I feel it's been key to separate the wet and dry compost. It reduces the smelly/wet stuff down to a small, very manageable portion of the overall bulk.

It's also convenient to have the dry compost bucket right next to the trash can, so it's easy to sort compostables right at the moment when you're throwing stuff away.

As the weather warms up, the wet stuff can attract fruit flies and ants. I use a homemade fruit fly trap (wine bottle with some sweet rotting stuff in the bottom and a cone taped to the top with a hole big enough for only one fly to get in at a time -- they can't find their way out from underneath the cone) and ant traps (borax mixed with powdered sugar in a jar lid on the counter).

I also have come to appreciate using biodegradable bags in my countertop container (wet compost). The convenience is worth the cost so far; it would work fine without, but it is a lot less messy and helps keep the odor down, too.

Hope this is helpful! We've been collecting all compostables since Project COW began, and this system is well tested in our family of one adult and four kids.


Few Changes Required for COW

It is interesting to read how you manage your waste stream, Amanda. It reads as though there's a lot of work involved, but now that you have your system in place is it pretty easy?

Our set up changed very little to accommodate COW, from what we had been doing for 2 1/2 decades.

Trash requires waste baskets all over the house anyway.

Compost (raw fruit and veggie matter plus coffee grounds) has its filtered bucket under the sink.

Recycling comes with a bin that rests at the bottom of the cellar stairs (one step, pivot and release with frisbee like wrist motion - cat food tins only!). There is also a box under the desk for paper items.
From my mother-in-law we picked up an idea that we've been using since the 80's: a waxed juice box, pulled open at the top, placed in the freezer. Bones, fish wrap, cooked food waste that can't go down the dispose-all - anything that would stink in the trash goes here. On pick up day we would chuck the whole thing in the waste basket.

To transition to COW, trash, recycling, and compost all stayed the same.
The only things we had to do was stop putting plastic and metal in the juice box, but now all the food that used to go downn the dispose-all goes into COW . Plastic meat and fish wrap now go in their own ziploc bag till pick up day, then they get put in the regular trash on pick up day. Food papers like dixie cups and donut wrap etc also go in the COW box.
When the freezer box is full, it gets emptied into the metal can in the garage that has a locking lid to keep out varmints. The metal can is only 6 gallons (enough for us) and goes out to the curb on pick up day. When it's empty, I hose it out and dry it in the sun.
Kitty litter waste has always gone back into it's box (fortunately, we use a brand that comes in a waxed box that can go into COW once you've removed the plastic handle). I used to dump the litter in the woods, but now it goes to the curb - a shorter walk.

Having everything picked up weekly makes life much easier.
Thanks TOB!


Oh thank goodness!

I was soo happy to put it all on the curb this morning! We had been hoarding our recycling in the corner of the kitchen during off weeks so we did not clutter our shared porch. Then god forbid we go out of town; we would forget which week we were on! Yes I know I could have taken it all somewhere in my car. But I work, I have a baby, it is too hot...yada, yada, ;)


The News Isn't Getting Out

Does anybody know if the Reformer has announced this change?

We're the only household on my street with recycling out today. Don't know if that's habit or people are unaware.


not true Paul!

I live just a few doors down from you and I had my recycling and curbside compost bin out on the curb, my neighbor across the street had his recycling out on the curb, my neighbor to the right of me had his compost out on the curb...


Humblest Apologies

Sorry Jamie, I'm an old liberal and can only look left. ;)


Democracy, and The Benefits of Stopping PAYT

It seems worth noting that the compost pickup and the increase in recycling both seem to stem from the defeat of PAYT. When PAYT was defeated, the need for both of these excellent improvements, became more than a "good idea", they became more obviously necessary.

I know that it was a contentious and hard fought little battle, and the conversations, (as almost always seems to be the case) could have been more civil. But to me it still feels like the Battle of PAYT was a great example of local democracy in action, and in this instance, the better plan eventually prevailed, This happy event was thanks to both dedicated people, and a process whereby change is possible.

Everyone on the opposing sides of the PAYT issue had good intentions,a spirited discussion was had, and recycling was increased. That seems like the best outcome as well as a win for democracy.


the proof is in the pudding

I am very happy about weekly recycling and curbside composting. Kudos to everyone involved! I'm not sure however that you can call this an unqualified success. Please correct me if I am wrong but I do not believe the results have been quantified. As Paul pointed out with anecdotal evidence, folks are not taking full advantage of these programs. People are by nature lazy and resistant to changing their habits. I think we all know this, and this is my concern. Having said that I hope you are right Rolf and that recycling has increased, folks are taking advantage of curbside composting, and someone has been tracking all of this so that we can look at the result and be proud.


Hear Hear Rolf!

And congratulations to Moss, Cindy, and everyone who worked on making this happen. Now let's get the word out and encourage people to do it.


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