Solid Waste & Recycling Service Changes in Medway in FY 18

Issue Date: 
July, 2017
Article Body: 

Several residents had questions about the changes to recycling and pick up special items. DPS has provided the information below. They would be happy to answer any questions you may have. They can be reached at (508) 321-4830.
History of Trash &
Recycling Fees
Fees were established in the year 2000 as the program moved from a tax based system to a utility fee system. Current prices for annual fixed fee, yellow bags, white goods, bulk items, and recycling center stickers have not changed since inception. Some pricing at the recycling center for specific items has increased over time in an effort to recover costs and get more people to use the curbside program.
For those considering private trash haulers to save money, we encourage you to do your homework. For some, it can save money. However, understand that the Medway program includes:
• Disposal of one bulk item curbside per week FREE.
• Disposal of large appliances curbside FREE.
• Disposal of other TV’s, displays, extra recyclables, metal, yard waste, mercury bulbs, Styrofoam, batteries, and rigid plastic at the Recycling Center FREE.
• Disposal of other bulk items and tires at the Recycling Center for a small fee.
• Small quantities of loam available FREE.
• Small quantities of ice melt salt available FREE.
• Annual Household Hazardous Waste Day FREE.
You can find a list of approved vendors on the Town website.
There are 4,132 trash accounts in Town. There are 4,649 recycling carts out, meaning an extra 517 recycling carts. Those extra carts cost have cost the Town an additional $34,639 annually. The Town also provides free cart repair services and more carts means higher repair costs.
Does the Town of Medway make any money from Trash & Recycling?
The Town does not make any money on trash collection. Recycling usually has some credits associated with the sale of the commodity. The credits in no way cover the cost of curbside collection. The recyclables market is a commodity market with prices subject to supply and demand. In a good economy, prices tend to rise. In a bad, economy, they fall. Prices are also subject to supply. The market supply has been steadily rising as recycling programs have grown. This has generally dampened prices over time. Recycling is still a cheaper option vs trash, but is not a money maker for the Town.
Why Yellow Bags?
The yellow bags are part of the “pay-as-you-throw” program. This is considered a best practice approach to waste management. The idea is to charge people appropriately for the services they receive. Heavier users are charged more. At the same time, it encourages recycling as people can avoid the trash bag fee by using recycling. This idea is now being extended to recycling. Heavy users will pay a little more. Many have said that this discourages recycling and people will just throw more in the trash. However, cost of the trash bags to replace a 96 gallon recycling cart will be higher than the cost of the additional carts, making it more cost effective to recycle.
Special Items
As the Town of Medway considered a new contract with Waste Management for FY18, we learned that we were facing just under $100K in new charges for “Special Items.” In an effort to avoid a rate increase, the Board of Selectmen requested an audit of “Special Item” pick-up. After an extensive analysis, we have made some relatively minor changes to pick-up of “Special Items” service provided. Moving forward each household will be limited to 4 calls per year no more than 8 items per year.
Recycling Carts
The Town is charged for the total number of carts distributed, not the number of carts emptied each pick-up cycle. Cost of each cart distributed is $67 per year to the town. Waste Management reported to the Town that it is paying that annual fee on carts that are not being used or not being used regularly. They cannot provide specific numbers, however, we have taken some time to look over the use of the carts on recycling days. Some extra carts are used regularly, some are not. A definite trend we observed is boxes being put out without being broken down. Cardboard takes up significant room even when broken down properly. To avoid the charge of an additional recycling cart, breakdown cardboard boxes, or it can be brought to the Recycling Center at no cost. Based on this information, the Board of Selectmen decided that the cost of more than one cart should be carried by the households using more than one cart. Therefore, effective July 1 if you choose to have or use more than one cart you will be charged an additional $50 per cart per year.