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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Town Trash Bag Quality?


Just this past week putting out trash in the early morning dark I had the large purple bag split open like a ripe watermelon and no I wasn't over stuffing or using excessive force. The next time around two weeks later when I had less trash going out, the smaller yellow bag failed me when I went to pull the draw string it just simpley ripped off like a fly away rip cord to no where, so I had to do a quick make shift tie job with what was left of excess plastic bag on the top barely binding enough to tie a simple granny knot, not the best way to start the day.The entire package of yellow bags had the same defect. 

Should I feel like this is just a fluke in the overall  quality of these costly bags or is anyone else out there had a simular experience?

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 #

Poor quality

I seldom use the larger purple bags but have experienced having the very shoddy drawstrings on the yellow bags tear and pull out of the bag. Compared to the bags I used before this poorly thought out change went into effect I find the town bags to be not as strong; an odd shape and not nearly as durable as supermarket bags- not to mention costing almost 10 times as much. But, I seriously doubt if anyone who is running this program gives a damn if the bags are insufficient for resident's needs. That was made clear when this program was put into place.

 
 #

good to know

It seems at the cost we are paying we should be able to count on a worthy supplier of some sort who can offer a reliably functional, quality trash bag whatever the color or logo, not an unreasonable request for a fairly, simply designed product you would think. Like you said, I too rarely ever had a problem with super market brands either which I wasn't afraid to use a little force to cram full with confidence. Back to the drawing board I say!

 
 #

The bags are being supplied

The bags are being supplied by the person who the town hired to "consult" on the transition to PAYT, at a profit and to our detriment, of course.

So yeah, its that dumb.

And yeah, the bags are craptastic.

And yeah, the $400k "saved" by switching to PAYT didn't result in a tax rate decrease, other items in the budget quickly swooped in to eat up the "extra" money.

The town, in its typical half-assed fashion, gave no thought nor made any provision to those residents who generate more than a bag or two a week of typical residential waste.

I don't use the system, neither do a few of my neighbors, one of whom got a dumpster to avoid handing the town a dime.

 
 #

Needs Tweaking

The composting component of the program is absolutely supportable to me as it continues on a weekly basis and definitely should be provided for residents by the town, although biodegradable trash bags are costly on top of the cost of plastic trash bags and you can't just slide out a slop bucket for the poor trash collector to deal with or maybe you can, I don't.

The trash bag portion needs work and I don't think it's fair with the town promoting this program as they vehemently did time and time again, then after it was approved and instated suddenly reduce and cut the pick up rate to bi weekly system, especially in the hot summer months were garbage has a longer duration to sit around and stink up the garage or where ever. I know your saying if there aren't any compostables in the trash it should't stink, but it does and think of disposable baby diapers for young parents lingering for that amount of time which is another topic for discussion I suppose.

 
 #

I think it's become very

I think it's become very clear to anyone who has lived here for more than a few months that the Selectboard's main priority is to "save" as much money as possible with no thought , at all, to how their decisions impact the residents who live here. The quality of the bags is a big issue; the brilliant idea to decrease the trash pick up schedule and begin that in July is another half assed idea that benefits no one - possibly the town coffers but certainly not the residents. The SB apparently lives in a fantasy world where there are no low income, elderly or disabled residents; where everyone has disposable income to pay for ridiculously expensive trash bags and where all of us - regardless of how tiny our living quarters may be can still find room for recycling bins; compost containers and extra trash barrels to hold the 2 weeks worth of trash. I'd like to live in that world but, alas, it's only for those with tunnel vision and no idea how the rest of us live.

 
 #

Bags ok for me

So far our use of the large bags hasn't had any problems. We've stuffed them and abused them.

More of a problem for me, at least last winter, was compost stuff freezing in the container and not being fully dumped at the curb, leading to bringing back in some of the previous week's compost.

Not a problem in warm months, but in winter, it might be nice to have the pickup folks use some sort of tool to scrape it all out. A quick knock with a pole would probably do it, or a slightly harder knock when first dumping it to get it all out.

A minor problem, but if we are interested in making things perfect, it is feedback. : )

 
 #

Let's talk trash

Maybe it was an anomaly and just a one time bad batch combined with the bad luck of the draw (string) naturally waiting for me I so happened to come across at the super market, but either way the trash bags should have been trashed or refunded as they became useless adding to the aggravation of a spill and winding up adding even more plastic to the landfills. Maybe this system doesn't need that much tweaking as I suggest or maybe we got twerked in a classic case of bait and switch reduced to a bi-weekly system residents have become complacent about.

I keep a large plastic yogurt container (I collect for this purpose) by my sink adding compost until full, then put in the freezer until pick up day when I release contents by running under hot water and pop out as if a mold and into biodegradable bag with used paper towels to cushion sharp edges, this works pretty well except for depriving yourself of freezer space.

 
 #

Good idea...

Pre-freezing is a good suggestion. Won't really work for the kitty litter, but for other stuff... : )

I was thinking of maybe greasing the inside of the container.

 
 #

If you aren't using any kind

If you aren't using any kind of biodegradable bag maybe just line the bucket with an old paper grocery bag or just put used paper towels down first creating a barrier to keep wet litter from sticking to the bottom in freezing temps.

 
 #

More good ideas

Another good suggestion... thanks!

 
 #

Salt

Not sure, you might be able to toss a small cup of road salt in bottom of bucket??

 
 #

I double-bag

It's not as environmentally sound, perhaps, but neither is a pile of trash on the curb that fell out of a bag that split. I just bag everything in regular trash bags and shove those into the purple bags just before pickup (sometimes right at the curb, to avoid having to drag and possibly split the outside bag).

 
 #

another one bits the dust

ok, my yellow bag today didn't even have a draw string on board, completely missing in action!

 
 #

More data

The "string" on the latest purple bag just broke on me, making it impossible to close it. Count me as a "bad bag" recipient, too.

Bought it a week or so ago.

 
 #

It is a highly impermanent trash bag

Maybe it is best that they are using minimalist materials on these bags. And no need for biodegradability because these bags are heading to a dry landfill for permanent disposal. My bags have ripped on occasion because of a sharp object in the trash. I just take my packing tape dispenser and do a quick repair. Once the trash bag lands in the truck it has no need for structural integrity.

Andy

 
 #

The issue isn't that the bags

The issue isn't that the bags aren't meant to last for all eternity. Personally, I don't think it's much to expect that a trash bag that I am paying more than 10 times the cost of a supermarket bag will be functional long enough for me to get it out of my apartment, down the stairs and across my yard to the trash barrels.
Isn't that what a trash bag is supposed to do? Contain trash without it's flimsy drawstring breaking or without tearing ? I shouldn't have to be cleaning up spilled trash because the person in charge of procuring trasbags for an entire town couldn't be bothered to find bags with draw strings that actually work.
I realize it's probably too much to ask of either a person or a trash bag to just do their damn job.

 
 #

Trash pick up

Have the trash days been pushed ahead this week?, never came today in my neighborhood.

 
 #

Yes- picked up a day later

Yes- picked up a day later due to the Monday holiday

 
 #

talking trash

We are not paying for the bags, we are paying for trash pickup.
They could probably just as easily sell stickers so we could use whatever bags we wanted. Using the town bags as actual trash bags is not efficient at all.

 
 #

Good point, and reminder

The bags, too, were presented as a possible short-term solution, and the Town promised it would consider a switch to stickers after the program got going.

Recall that the choice to use these bags was mostly for convenience of those picking up the trash, not those getting rid of trash. They "needed" to be color coded for easy pickup and lack of confusion.

I used duct tape this week to close up a Town bag. : )

 
 #

Yes, technically we are

Yes, technically we are paying for trash pickup. But. when i go to the store i don't tell the cashier "I'd like a bag of yellow trash pickup, please". In order to get trash pick up we are required to purchase these over priced bags. no?

I'm guessing that having a black trash pickup bag with a sticker is not going to be any more difficult for the employees to pick up and put in their truck than a yellow or purple bag with ties that don't work.
As with just about every town decision the outcome is based on what is going to easiest and/or the most profitable for those who make the decisions - not for those who are affected by the decisions.

 
 #

more talking trash

I am dealing with diaper disposal and that's what makes up the bulk of my trash these days but, except for special occasions, I still only use one yellow bag every two weeks. I dislike putting bags in bags but that is what works. I have to admit that I am shocked at the number of purple bags (at$3each) I often see out at a single stop.
P.S. You can try tying the bags using the ties as re-enforcement while actually tying the bag itself together.

 
 #

Please Report Bag Quality Issues To:

WasteZero at 1-800-866-3954.

It's on the slip that comes in the bag of bags.
I bought my first one this AM, for 20 months worth of garbage.
Fits in a yellow 20-lb. bag just fine.

For more info:
www.wastezero.com/brattleboro
or 802.254.4541

 
 #

Really? The fact that you

Really? The fact that you have space to store 20 months worth of trash and that 20 months worth of trash can be contained in 1 small PAYT bag puts you in a category that not many of us can relate to. So, while I guess i should say good for you the reality is that most people who use the bags are not in a similar position. Rather than addressing the issue your post seems more like a scolding - " If I can do this so can you" type of bragging. The fact that you have never had a problem bag ( since you only use 1 apparently in almost 2 years) doesn't help the people who have had continung issues with the bags.

 
 #

zero trash?

Do you burn trash? What do you do with all UN-recyclable plastic debris and if you have none, how do you avoid getting it? I feel there has to be more to this claim then meets the eye....

 
 #

almost zero trash

No, I do not burn my trash. Most things that can be burned can also be either recycled or composted. Burning plastic creates and releases dioxin, which is about the most toxic chemical that most of us will ever come in contact with.

I wouldn't say I have 'no' un-recyclable plastic debris, but very little. This is due to a lifestyle where I avoid acquiring plastic trash to a large degree. What I do have I clean, dry and fold before disposal. This allows for long-term storage in my trash bin without smell, and condenses space. I think the town's recent decision to withdraw from (and thereby close down) the WSWMD recycling facility is very short-sighted, but one clear benefit it will have is my/our ability to recycle plastics #3-7.

I do not include junk/waste from repairing my car in this tally, or my trash. I justify this because most other people take their cars to mechanics and let the mechanic deal with the waste.

As for the other comment to my post, I will not respond to it because I consider it to be a personal attack, and am disheartened that 'citizen journalism' allows such things.

 
 #

Why not stickers?

Instead of requiring approved bags, why not sell pay-to-throw stickers, so that people can put a sticker on their own bag?

This would eliminate any issue about the quality of the bags, and it would also make it quite clear that the entire fee is pay-to-throw, with not confusion about what portion of it is just paying for the bag.

 
 #

No confidence in sticker use

.....not to be the eternal pessimist, but if the bags don't work what chance is there if using the same manufacturer the stickers will stick on any given rainy day or not stripped (by the bag burglar) for reuse at a buck a piece? Since we're paying cash households should just be billed a standard monthly charge and fined if they are not composting, end of story.

 
 #

Except for the part about the

Except for the part about the punitive fines for not composting which is totally illegal since composting is not mandatory. And, as I've discussed ad nauseum on this site and others - not everyone is able to compost. Very small kitchens, disabilities that prevent added trips carrying yet another container outside; people with mobility issues- lots of reasons why composting is not the answer to all the world's ( or even the town's ) problems. But, this is Brattleboro, after all, where the problems of the poor, the elderly, the disabled are not ever a part of any decision. Especially any that make money for the town.

Also, I'm assuming that once the stickers were stuck to a bag they would not be able to be reused without possibly being taped - hence foiling the nefarious plans of the sticker thief cartel.

 
 #

sticker fun

Stickers can be easily counterfeited and yes unscrupulous people would bother to do so if money is involved. Take the law of averages, add a basic quarterly bill to house holds and be done with these cheap bags and having to buy them. Being poor has little to do with composting it's a matter of organization, yet dumping on remote roads certainly does. But I agree, more people should help out the disabled and elderly in these kind of chores that are more difficult for them to get done with the frequency required.

 
 #

I never implied that being

I never implied that being poor had anything to do with composting or not. I said that very small apartments with little to no kitchen space and elderly and disabled residents who have health and/or mobility issues find it difficult - if not impossible to add composting to the long list of things it is difficult for them to do. Nor does organization have anything to do with being able to compost or not. The primary requirements for composting are: having a dedicated space in your kitchen /somewhere to have the actual compost bucket/bin/pot. A kitchen with 18" of counter space total is not a kitchen where composting can be done. The most important requirement, of course is having the ability to carry another container down apartment stairs; across snowy/icy yards out to the curb - which may or may not be accessible. If you are not elderly and/or physically disabled or have other health problems then it's easy to pass judgement on these people about being lazy or disorganized or any of the other multiple reasons that people find to not see the problems that many people in this community deal with.
So, I gather that I'm to assume from your next to last sentence that you believe the dumping of trash on remote roads is only being done by 'poor" people? Any kind of logic to that belief?

 
 #

Gulp

Gulp, I'll be sure to watch for falling or tossed compost from above if I so happen to be walking in your neighborhood, what is with such agitation. I never said lazy or disorganized and yes people who don't want to or can't spend money on PAYT bags will definitely contribute to roadside trash dispersal among others or burning in rural areas when they want to rid themselves of their mounting trash, it happens all the time. Organization has everything to do with it, organize some assistance be pro active, maybe look into putting in a garbage disposal if you are a single person not producing a lot of compost or since you said it is not mandatory, throw your portion in the trash and call it a day. My point is about bag quality if you recall.

 
 #

New Year Resolution

I'm not actually in the habit of tossing compost or anything else for that matter down on who or whatever might be below me. But...should I suddenly become inclined to do that in the new year I have made a RESOLUTION to stop and think before tossing my compost off my porch and then just walking away and back into my house. And, since we all know that nobody ever breaks their New Years resolutions it should be fine. I've also made a resolution to begin absolutely believing that all the decisions and 'money saving' ventures that the SB puts into place are done with the best interest of every Brattleboro resident; rich, poor, healthy, sick, physically adept or painfully disabled; young or elderly, renters or homeowners.
Oh,,almost forgot. And, I'll certainly be more pro active in talking to the poor/elderly/disabled residents about being more organized. Happy New Year!

 
 #

Happy New Year

That sounds like a good start to the new year all those promises to keep, but I wouldn't retreat yet on the opportunity to hone the accuracy of your tossing and placement skills of various compost matter just to make sure you hit your mark landing safely in an outdoor composter or squirrel/skunk and opossum feeding station if there is room for one or for that matter awaken that particular person of dislike if need be.
I, in the meantime, will cease and desist in my verbal attempt to rid our community of the PAYT bag ill conceived logic and no longer resist (cave in or out just like the bags) the burden of yellow and purple banner bags defectively flowing along our roadways with trash loads flowing out of them every other week adding more interesting color and texture of spillage. I will instead push for "a be kind to and respect your trash man day" who are on the other end of the mess. No system is perfect but I still think there must be a better, more economically contained and less complicated way to dispose of our home trash, some other way.

 

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