VERNON -- This week, in addition to picking up Vernon residents’ trash, Triple T Trucking will be making deliveries.
The hauler will be running special routes starting Thursday to drop off free, 24-gallon recycling bins for use next month when curbside recycling pickup begins.
Also this week, residents should be receiving a mailer detailing changes under the "pay as you throw" program that also starts with the new fiscal year. Those mailers will contain one free, 33-gallon trash bag -- a $3 value under the town’s new rubbish-collection system.
That way, when the switch to pay as you throw and curbside recycling officially happens on July 3, "Everybody will have their recycling bins, and they’ll have a trash bag to get them started," Selectboard Chairwoman Patty O’Donnell said.
The town is switching to pay as you throw as a means to save money due to the pending demise of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Currently, Vernon pays $135,000 to Triple T for townwide, curbside trash collection -- money that no longer will need to be in the town budget as of next month.
Under pay as you throw, residents will be charged based on how much trash they generate. That will happen via the mandatory purchase of specially marked town trash bags at the rate of $2 per 15-gallon bag and $3 per 33-gallon bag.
The transition to pay as you throw has happened quickly. And with just a few weeks to go, members of Vernon Selectboard and the town’s Recycling Committee still are working through details of the program.
"The bags are here, but we haven’t started selling them yet," O"Donnell said. "They’ll probably start being sold at the end of next week. We’re still trying to figure out the logistics of how we account for the bags."
That’s because the two sizes of trash bags will be available for purchase at several locations including the town clerk’s office, Vernon Library, the town pool and Guilford Country Store.
Officials disclosed this week that the town will not sell individual bags -- they will be available only in sleeves of five. For accounting purposes, it would be too confusing to offer single-bag sales, O’Donnell said.
On Monday, officials spent time stuffing one free trash bag into informational mailers that are going out to every Vernon household. The mailer includes a description of the pay as you throw program as well as detailed information on recycling, which officials are touting as a way to greatly reduce household trash volumes and, therefore, to save money on trash bags.
"It has a very nice list of what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled," O’Donnell said. "It shows what can be composted."
Triple T owner Norman Mallory said his company will begin distributing free recycling bins to Vernon homes on Thursday, though he said it is unclear whether all address will receive bins that day.
Curbside recycling may be new in Vernon, but it is not new for Triple T. Mallory noted that the company handles trash and recyclable collections in Hinsdale, N.H., which has a pay as you throw program and also practices "single stream" recycling -- meaning all recyclables can be placed in the same bin and transported on the same truck.
The arrangement will be the same in Vernon. Mallory noted that single-stream also means Triple T doesn’t need special recycling vehicles.
"When you go single-steam, you’re able to put it into the packer trucks," Mallory said. "Once they’re done with the recycling, they can go right back to trash."
O’Donnell said town officials have been hearing a common question regarding the new curbside recycling program.
"The biggest question we get asked is, ‘What if the (town-issued) bin isn’t big enough?’" she said. "You can use any kind of container. If you have a big Rubbermaid container, it has to clearly be marked ‘recycling,’ but that can be used. You don’t only have to use the bin you’re being given by the town. That’s just to get you started."
She also noted that, for the first year at least, the recycling roll-off bins at the town garage will stay put. But O’Donnell is warning that those bins cannot become a dumping ground.
"We are asking everyone who lives in this town -- if they see anybody throwing things into the recycling bin that don’t go in there, please report it," O’Donnell said. "We all pay for that (disposal) cost. And it’s not fair for all the people who are doing the process the way it’s supposed to be done to be penalized for people who don’t."
She praised members of the Recycling Committee, who have fashioned a pay as you throw program in a matter of just a few months.
"They’ve done an absolutely fabulous job on behalf of the town," O’Donnell said. "It’s a learning curve for all of us. I ask for everybody to be patient in the process. We will make our way through this."
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.