Recycling could get easier.
WEST BOYLSTON - Single-stream recycling could be a possibility in the town's next trash removal contract after bids for future service came back lower than the current cost for curbside trash removal.
Without changing to single-stream/bin recycling, the town could save about $100,000 over the current cost for the life of a five-year contract, based on bids presented to selectmen last week by Public Works Director John Westerling. Currently, residents put out recyclable materials on a rotating, bi-weekly schedule for different materials, like plastic, paper and metals.
Westerling recommended that the town remain with current contractor Allied Waste because of the company's low bid, and the fact that there would be no transition period that would be required for a new vendor.
Westerling's recommendation was not to go single stream/container recylcing, which would have increased the bid by more than $30,000 annually. When Worcester switched to single stream, the increase in recycling was about 2 percent, Westerling said, which might not offset the added cost to the town. Westerling noted that the contract was for hauling, not disposal, which is a separate contract and could increase, absorbing the savings in collection.
Westerling also noted that the town's Solid Waste Advisory Team (SWAT) voted against single-stream recycling, based in part on last year's change to a pay-as-you-throw system.
"They felt there was enough confusion or change in the past year," Westerling said.
Selectmen, however, asked Westerling to seek new bids that would include single stream recycling, citing earlier promises to voters and a potential to make the change without an increase for taxpayers should disposal bids be favorable for the town.
Selectmen also noted that the current system of holding recyclables for two weeks and then having to follow a calendar to see what to put out is more confusing that adapting to a one-bin system.
"We could still save money and the people won't forget," Chairman Kevin McCormick said. "It's going to be simple. Just put out a bucket and throw it in there."
Selectman Christopher Rucho said he would expect an increase in recycling greater than 2 percent based on the same reasons cited by McCormick. Some people might miss a week, and not want to hold onto recyclables for another two weeks now, Rucho said. In those cases, people are probably throwing the items in the trash.
"We just need to send out a simple letter, stating now you need to throw it in one bucket," Rucho said. "I don't know how that would confuse anyone."
Westerling was asked to seek new bids that included single stream options. If the bidding process does not work in the town's favor, selectmen said they could return to Westerling's original recommendation on Allied Waste's bid to keep service the same as it is now.