Greenfield begins recycling outreach ahead of single-stream launch

Greenfield officials discuss the city’s change from a manual dual-stream recycling system to an automated single-stream system at the John Zon Community Center on Tuesday.

Greenfield officials discuss the city’s change from a manual dual-stream recycling system to an automated single-stream system at the John Zon Community Center on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/ANTHONY CAMMALLERI


Staff Writer

Published: 06-26-2024 6:15 PM

GREENFIELD — Before the city begins to change its recycling system from manual dual-stream to automated single-stream next year, officials met with residents Tuesday evening to discuss the changes to come.

Seated close to a display of recycling and trash receptacles at the John Zon Community Center, Department of Public Works Director Marlo Warner II gave an overview of the recycling system. Warner explained that last year, the city received a more than $2 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly established Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program (SWIFR) to change its recycling system and purchase a new fleet of automated collection vehicles, along with new 95-gallon recycling bins for residents.

“The reason we needed that grant was our recycle trucks were in horrible condition — I’m putting that mildly at this point,” Warner said. “We really needed to automate to protect driver safety.”

Approaching the display of recycling bins, Greenfield grant writer Athena Bradley outlined the city’s three-year timeline for implementing the changes. This year, the city ordered the trucks and carts, which are expected to arrive in the spring of 2025. The city will likely spend the rest of this year focusing on community outreach. A series of public forums are planned, the next to be held Sept. 9.

Bradley said the city will begin to actively roll out the program next year, distributing the recycling bins as the default size for each household in the community. In the program’s second and third years, she said the automated trucks will be put to use and the city will begin contamination control, establishing a tag and fine system for improper recycling practices.

“The goal of single-stream is it does make recycling easier,” Bradley said. “About 80% of the country has now gone single-stream. When I started out in recycling in the early 90s, we separated everything in the three bins. Now you’ve been recycling everything with two separate periods with paper going in one bin and then hard recyclables, your cans and bottles going in the other. Now we’re going to put everything together.”

When the meeting opened into its question-and-answer portion, residents expressed concern over the size of the recycling bins, with some noting that in winter, bringing the large crates out to a curb would be a challenge for disabled and elderly residents.

In response, Bradley said the city will host a special hearing to discuss accommodations for elderly and disabled residents at the Sept. 9 meeting. Warner added that residents can request smaller recycling containers from the city if they choose to and the DPW can be reached regarding questions and concerns.

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Others expressed concern over the amount of space on narrow roads the automated trucks would occupy, to which Warner responded that the automated trucks will be roughly the same size as the current collection vehicles and will collect bins from a distance of roughly 4 feet from the curb.

“There’s going to be situations that we’re going to have to accommodate. There may be even situations where bins have to stay and we work that out in a different way,” Warner said. “We hope we hear from people that have a concern so that we can work with them.”

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at or 413-930-4429.