We don't have money to burn

We Don’t Have Money to Burn

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A letter from Linda Orel and Tim Humphreys.

We were surprised to learn that Sharon produces more trash per household than 75 percent of all cities and towns in Massachusetts. Sharon’s Board of Selectmen will soon review proposals for new municipal solid waste and recycling services. They should choose MassDEP’s 35 Gallon “SMART” trash cart program to reduce pollution and costs.

As residents know all too well, our current waste contract just increased from $54 to $76 per quarter. We are paying for peak trash output by allowing 5 barrels of trash per week, charging all households based on the highest waste generators, and providing no financial incentive to reduce waste.

The 147 cities and towns in Massachusetts that employ Smart programs have such incentives and generate nearly one-third less trash per household. Reducing solid waste pollution is critical to fish and wildlife, and our children’s health. Trash pollutes our air, soil, rivers and oceans with toxins and chemicals, and exacerbates climate change. Reducing curbside waste is also the best way to control disposal costs.

MassDEP offers technical assistance and $150,000 startup grants for Sharon to help launch the Smart program. With education and support, we can all do a better job at reducing, recycling and composting, as they have in the 147 Smart communities.

Smart programs are fair and equitable. Those of us who fill less than one garbage can per week should not be required to subsidize households that generate significantly more. We don’t have money to burn!