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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Loss of Fairground Rd Trash Bins

Am I hearing this right?

What a stupid move.

I lived in a town (Lake Luzerne, NY) where they tried something like this many years ago.

The unintended consequence was a “Yuuge” increase in trash being discarded by the side of the road.

Why not eliminate all trash and garbage collection for good and let the free market do its magic?


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Happy to try to help explain their decision

What exactly are you hearing?


This refers to the loss of the roll-off bins"

What this post refers to was widely reported (Reformer, Commons, etc) a few weeks ago: The decision to close the Windham Solid Waste Mgt District's "MRF" facility, which, the reports indicated, would mean that as of the end of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2017) those recycling bins in various locations throughout the area will disappear. After Guilford decided to eliminate the ones at the Country Store, many of us use the bins referred to on Fairground Road, as being the nearest (the ones in West Brattleboro were taken away a few years ago.) But no matter which ones we drive further & further to get to, it will be moot on June 30, as there won't be any.

A lot of area residents may have missed that news item, though it was prominently reported, as mid December, when the news broke, is a busy time for many.


Wondering which of the rumors

I was asking specifically what rumor was bothering him, since there have been many. I've been reporting on this for over two years here. : ) The news has been "breaking" for many, many months now, and the story goes back quite a way.

When someone says "Am I hearing this right?" I need to know what they are hearing before a real answer can be provided. At last night's meeting, for example, some thought recycling was ending altogether in Brattleboro. It is not.


For many towns, yes, it's ending

My admittedly vague understanding of all of this is that some towns (Brattleboro & Vernon seem to) have big trucks that go around and pick up trash & recyclables, one of the services townspeople have which are supported by property taxes. I believe I gathered from the hews stores about the MRF closing that a number of rural towns don't have this service. Guilford is among those. A lot of townspeople I've talked to, and I'm one of them, are waiting to find out what this means for us.

The original post made a good point: Rural roadsides can become a convenient dump for people who don't have municipal trash removal or recycling. Come to Broad Brook Grange on the first Saturday morning each May and see all the roadside stuff that's been picked up by Green Up Day volunteers. One year I pulled 8 automotive tires out of the woods and brought them for pickup. Last year someone found a vast dump of non-returnable beer bottles -- probably bought in NH. There were hundreds in one spot.


probably bought in NH

Probably not.
At least in nearby NH, the deposit cans all bear the VT stamp on the top. Thus, one can buy a Pepsi in NH, pay no deposit, and redeem it in VT. (Maybe it's different for bottles).
I have seen pickups with NH plates collecting mucho deposits from the machine at the Co-op many times. I wondered if people weren't making a business out of it. (Homeless people usually don't have pickups).


Which of the rumors.

I "heard" they would be removing the Fairground Road bins. I'm unsure if they would be removing bins on Old Ferry Rd.
If there's no place to recycle, there will be no recycling.
(Not everybody has recycling bins convenient to their residence).
I said "heard" because I don't remember where I saw it. Must have been the Commons.
iBratt didn't mention this directly.



Gotcha. Thanks.

You heard correctly that the WSWMD bins will be removed from Fairground Road. At last night's meeting, the board said people could still take large loads of cardboard to Old Ferry Road, so I'm assuming things can still be dropped there.

Other changes:

- commingling of plastics and paper. Everyone will be able to, if they so choose, throw plastics and paper in one home bin.

- plastic 3-7, currently not accepted, can be included in the recycle bin


The fact that WSWMD bin goes away doesn't mean we can't have one there. The Town could arrange to have Triple T place one there to replace the WSWMD bin, and it could be part of the new pickup and delivery to Rutland. No one has asked the board for this at any meeting so far.

Their response will likely be that their opinion is that not many Brattleboro residents use it, and most of it comes from out of town. Any argument in favor of a replacement bin would need to justify Brattleboro taxpayers paying for, potentially, some recycling from neighboring towns. It seems like some sort of system could be worked out - maybe surrounding towns sponsor a centrally located Brattleboro bin? Pay-as-you-throw-in-the-bin? Yearly passes?


Gee, maybe we should form a common waste district...

So if Brattleboro wouldn't want to host a recycling bin because other towns would use it, maybe our local municipalities should form a common what might be called Waste Management District. Oh, right, we currently have that and, for reasons that seem mysterious, "we" are getting rid of that. A step backward, & odd, because recycling seems to be so much in vogue these days.

The most I could gather, from thorough reading of Reformer, Commons & minutes of selectboard meetings, is that there were a series of confusing votes where reps didn't realize what they were voting for and all of a sudden the MRF was dead.

Another clever part of this was that a bunch of hard-working people are losing their jobs. We keep hearing Vermont needs jobs.



a bit more.

Whether to stay in the WSWMD has been a regular topic of the board for a few budget cycles (years), and came to a head this year. Either Brattleboro's assessment would be reduced, or other options would be explored for the town.

Brattleboro had been trying to work with the WSWMD to make our assessment more fair. Gartenstein sort of led the charge, noting that Brattleboro was paying Triple T for recycling pickup, but also to the district, which he saw as being overcharged. Sort of paying twice for something. The board wasn't opposed to paying the Town's fair share for everything else, but the recycling fees (which always centered the Fairground Road bin) were a sticking point.

David Schoales was appointed to the WSWMD board as a rep to work on the issue. The district gathered info, looked at possible changes, considered single vs. dual stream, MRF upgrades, and ways to alter assessments. They has special subcommittees and reports. Budgets were altered.

There were at least two selectboard meetings featuring long discussions with WSWMD, with board members explaining the board's frustration and pleading for some sort of change rather directly.

Last summer, Brattleboro began looking at alternative options in anticipation of possible changes.There were reports to the board on options.

WSWMD never could really come up with anything that satisfied Brattleboro's selectboard regarding the assessments, which led to the recent instructions to vote to close the MRF. That vote got a bit confused, but Brattleboro's intentions were known for a while. If the assessments could have changed, we might not have switched.

Schoales pointed out that other towns voted with Brattleboro to close it (not just our fault!)

Any regional solution would need to have a way to pay for itself. Money was the core issue behind all of this.


The Bigger Picture

Here's part of the problem....


I believe it was stated by WSWMD ,at one point in one of the articles, I read is that the market for recyclables has dropped. Take a look at what's happen to the price of junk cars. A few years ago you could get $200 -$300 for a car to scrap now it's around $50.
Then you have the State of Vermont acting like an environmental "knight in shining armor" trying to save the planet with its ACT148. As it exerts it's environmental tyranny on us it actually floods the market more. The result is the recycling facility can't make enough money to operate. What's even more ass backwards in terms of pollution is now your going to be trucking recyclables further away. Way to go Green Mountain state. Can you say Greenhouse Gas state?



Aah! The magic of the "free" market.


Missing the bigger picture

I think this discussion is missing a key piece of Vermont's Universal Recycling law. It says "Waste Haulers: Must offer collection services to residential and commercial customers over time, including recycling and food scrap collection."

So the question is how is your trash getting to the landfill now? If someone's picking it up, then they'll have to pick up recycling too. That said, there may be a gap for folks who take their own trash to the transfer station. Anyone have information on that question?


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