Brattleboro switch to biweekly garbage pickup considered another success

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BRATTLEBORO — The move to trash pickup every other week has been summed up as "another successful transition."

"People in town have really responded," Town Manager Peter Elwell said a meeting Tuesday. "While we recognize that this transition has a level of inconvenience for everyone and a more substantial inconvenience for certain households, the transition has accomplished the goal we set out for of reducing the overall cost to everyone in the community that pays into the system and diverting more of the garbage waste stream out of that part of the waste stream into the recycling and compost."

The change came this July. Recycling and compost continued to be collected weekly.

Biweekly pickup was prompted when the town saw a "steep reduction" in overall trash tonnage with a "sharp increase" in the collection of compostable materials after implementing Pay-As-You-Throw trash collection in July 2015. The environmental benefits were touted along with economic ones; the cost to process a ton of compost is 38 percent less than the cost of trash disposal.

Data for July through September in 2014, 2015 and 2016 showed that compost collection in Brattleboro had increased by 160 percent.

"The total tonnage of garbage in our curbside program has been reduced by 60 percent. The commingled container recycling has increased by 30 percent," Elwell said, and paper recycling had gone up by 8 percent.

Residences where diapers are being disposed were particularly noted for finding the biweekly pickup to be challenging. But illegal dumping has not been on the rise, and the change is said to have saved the town more than $100,000.

Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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