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Worcester approves ‘pay as you throw’ garbage program

(Oct. 10, 2014) You do your part. You separate, you sort, you recycle. You try to do the best you can to reduce waste, because garbage is, by its very nature, gross.

Especially with kids.

But then you look down the block. You see that guy. You know him. He’s emptied the entire contents of his house for what appears to be the third time this week. There it all is: pile after pile after pile.

Why should your trash fees be calculated in the same way his are?

Approved in June for 2015, the commissioners are offering residents a choice in how they handle their household waste with the aims of keeping costs in line with use, encouraging more recycling and lengthening the life of landfills.

The first is the familiar, yet more expensive than in previous years. Household permits will cost $100 for the first two registered vehicles on Jan. 1, 2015 and a third can be purchased for another $100. The price will not be prorated depending on the purchase date (buy early) nor will the price change if fewer permits are purchased. Homeowners will have to fill out an application and the permits will be sold at the Treasurer’s Office, Isle of Wight Office, the Central Landfill or via regular mail.

The new option, a pilot program, is called “pay as you throw.” Tags can be purchased in blocks of five for $5 at any of the above locations except through the mail (the county is not tracking them).

They do not expire, are the owner’s responsibility and are non-refundable. Each tag is good for a bag up to 33 gallons in size of household trash. Tipping fees are still in effect for construction/demolition items, tree stumps etc. while disposing of recyclable material is free.

The tags can only be used for household trash. Businesses, even home-based ones, must pursue a contract with an outside hauler to dispose of their waste.

The new fee structure is expected to reduce the existing Solid Waste Enterprise Fund deficit by at least $120,000. The deficit, reported in the minutes of the June meeting, required a nearly $1 million transfer from reserve funds to cover the shortfall.


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