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Recycling in Deerfield

Town is hauling out wasteful spending

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.<br/>

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.<br/>

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.<br/>
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Workers install a new concrete pad for recycling bins and prepare the surrounding lot for paving at the Deerfield Transfer Station on Tuesday.<br/>

DEERFIELD — Deerfield residents’ Saturday dump day will become less wasteful and less of a mess once the town places new paper compactors at the transfer station.

In November, residents will see two new paper compactors at the 42 Lee Road site that will save the town $12,000 a year in paper hauling costs.

The savings will be a bonus, especially now that the town has got a handle on the transfer station’s running debt. In FY 2011, the transfer station was $47,000 in the red. At the end of FY 2012, the transfer station was $32,000 in the black, according to Highway Director Shawn Patterson.

Deerfield is one of 22 towns that participate in the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, the regional organization that helps towns manage trash and recycling. But unlike its counterparts, Deerfield contends with several unparalleled issues, such as a large population overflowing the three recycling containers every Saturday, which has become the popular dump day. The transfer station is also open Tuesdays and Thursdays.

According to Jan Ameen, the district’s executive director, the new compactors will make the transfer station more efficient.

“Because Deerfield has so many people using its (transfer station), it hasn’t been cost effective and efficient,” Ameen said. “Deerfield is so large that in order for them to not have a container overflow, they have to have the container empty on Friday to get ready for the mass influx on Saturday. That forces the town to pay to truck partially empty trash and recyclables containers.

Right now, the transfer station has two containers for paper, one for bottles and cans and one trash compactor. The addition of paper compactors will reduce the amount of recycled paper at the site, saving space and reducing the amount of times the recycled paper needs to be hauled off once it fills a container.

Every time the town hauls off a recycling container — paper or bottles — it pays $130. Right now, with no paper compactors, the town pays approximately $15,000 a year in paper hauling costs, according to Ameen.

In regards to recycled paper, the town averages two collections a week for a total of 115 hauls a year. After a site evaluation two years ago, Ameen found the town could reduce its paper hauls from 115 to 31 a year with the addition of two paper compactors.

The two paper compactors, which can each pack eight tons, will save the town $12,000.

The town bought the two paper compactors for $16,600 using a state Department of Environmental Protection grant and in town-matched dollars. The town paid $9,000 of the $16,600. According to Ameen’s figures, the paper compactor not covered by the grant will pay for itself within two years in reduced hauling costs.

Down the road, Ameen suggests, the town should consider a second trash compactor to crush garbage before it is picked up and dropped off every two weeks at the South Hadley Landfill.

It costs $125 for each trash haul, which amounts to approximately $13,000 a year in trash hauls. The town pays to haul and dispose of trash at the landfill. The total yearly estimate for trash disposal is $63,000.

A second trash compactor could save the town another $3,000 a year, Ameen said.

Another option for the town to consider is adding a second container to hold bottles and cans.

“If the town gets two containers for bottles and cans, they’ll have twice as much capacity,” Ameen said, alleviating the need to haul partially filled containers on Friday.

Currently, the town picks up the bottle bin twice a week. A second container for bottles could drop the number of hauls and the associated costs. It costs the town $13,000 a year to haul off the bottles and cans.

“We’re trying to make it user-friendly so people understand why we charge $65 a sticker. That money goes back into the landfill to make these changes,” said Highway Director Shawn Patterson.

The town also charges $2 a trash bag. This money goes back into the trash station.

“The way you (encourage recycling) is make it easier to recycle,” Patterson said. “How do we make it easier for folks to recycle?”

Pave over the section that turns to a muddy slip-and-slide and make it easier to get around, Patterson said. The town did grading and drainage work so the water runs off the site. In two weeks, residents will also be able to park on blacktop rather than dusty dirt and sand.

The paving costs $23,000, but Patterson said the money the town has saved in sticker fees and hauling will help pay for the paving.

According to Patterson, the town saved money by cracking down on sticker scofflaws. This year, Deerfield had a record sale of dump stickers, netting $2,000. Previously, residents would dump their trash and recyclables without ever buying a dump sticker.

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