Greenfield’s Oak Courts starts recycling program

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/24/2018 5:12:03 PM

GREENFIELD — An anonymous letter questioning the trash and recycling collection protocols at Oak Courts has become an educational moment for Greenfield Housing Authority Executive Director Daniel Finn.

While Finn believed Oak Courts had been recycling, because they have paid for the services through a contract with Waste Management the past five years, it’s become apparent to him that, in fact, it’s unlikely the authority-run apartment project has been recycling because it does not have labeled bins specifically for recycling.

Now, following the letter and questions about it, he said the authority will label a bin specifically for recycling.

Finn has talked with board members and was planning to see that the issues were addressed.

In the letter sent to the Greenfield Recorder, Finn, Mayor William Martin and other leaders in the city, it claimed “inadequate dumpster capacity to handle” the trash at Oak Courts, a public housing facility off of Elm Street, but also that “Greenfield Housing Authority does not provide any recycling services for Oak Court residents.”

Finn said Greenfield Housing Authority has a three-year contract with Waste Management for Oak Courts, which includes single-stream recycling. Single-stream recycling places all recyclables, plastic and paper, together, but does not allow for the mixing of recyclables and trash.

While the contract, which costs about $900 a month, may include services for recycling, Finn said that doesn’t mean it’s happening at Oak Courts.

A spokesman for Waste Management said for them to do recycling, there would generally have to be some kind of separate collection process for recycling, like its own bin or a collection of it inside the community services center.

The idea that the trash needs to be separated from the recycling in the dumpster is something Finn said he hadn’t been told before by Waste Management, though he doesn’t put the blame on them.

“I know our contract calls for single-stream recycling,” Finn said. “That’s what I know.”

He added if Oak Courts in fact is not recycling because it does not have a specific bin to place its recyclables, he will label one specifically for recycling.

The reason Oak Courts uses a private trash collection pickup service dates back to about five years ago, Finn said. “It was an absolute nightmare when the town would come pick up the trash,” he said.

He said he received a letter from the mayor about five years ago that said they will no longer pick up the trash at Oak Courts because of issues placing trash into the proper bins with the proper stickers.

Once the city went to the sticker system, Finn said residents at Oak Courts were not complying sufficiently.

“Once the town went to pay-for-throw, it changed everything,” Finn said. “Recycling went down the tubes.”

Instead, Greenfield Housing Authority went out to bid for Oak Courts and went with Waste Management, which included single-stream recycling.

Another Greenfield Housing Authority property, Elm Terrace, which houses seniors, still has trash pickup with the city.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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