Trash

WHY DO WE NEED TO “WATCH OUR WASTE”?

#WatchingOurWaste: Post photos and join the trash challenge at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SustainableSharonCoalition/ or email SustainableSharonCoalition@groups.facebook.com

We’re watching our waste to:

  • Reduce global warming and pollution
  • Save energy, conserve natural resources and protect wildlife
  • Save money and only pay for what we use
  • Be a model community and lead by example

SMART = Save Money And Reduce Trash

The SSC SMART proposal is an inclusive, flexible, sustainable, and cost effective waste program that will:

  • Deliver a free 35 gallon trash cart to each household at a low base price. This size can accommodate three tall kitchen bags, which would work for the vast majority of households.
  • Offer overflow options for purchase on an as-needed basis via town designated bags or an extra 35 gallon cart. This solves the current equity issue that every household served continually pays for peak trash generation.
  • Pick up recyclables in the current big blue 96-gallon cart on a weekly basis.

***** Frequently Asked Questions *****

1. How does a 35 gallon SMART trash program save money and reduce trash?

  • We pay a “tipping fee” for every ton of trash we deliver to the incinerator where our trash goes, SEMASS/Covanta. The less trash we generate, the less money we pay.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) offers grants for SMART programs that incentivize waste reduction and recycling. If Sharon switches to a 35 gal SMART trash cart, we would be eligible for approximately $150,000 in grant support.
  • Only a 35 gallon sized trash cart is effective at reducing trash. Data from other municipalities in MA indicate that households using 35 gal SMART trash carts generate 25-30% less trash per household compared with Sharon.

2. Is Sharon really in the top quarter of trash generators in Massachusetts?

  • Yes, Sharon produces a lot of trash per household (see map).
  • With a small change of habits for some households, Sharon could reduce its trash considerably.

3. What can I recycle in my current 96-gallon big blue cart at the curb?

4.Where can I recycle beyond my 96-gallon big blue cart, e.g. plastic bags?

5. How do I learn more about composting?

6. Why not just educate? Why does there have to be a financial incentive too?

  • It’s human nature to fill the space we have. Data show the larger the cart provided, the more trash generated by households (see chart below).
  • When households are given a reasonable base limit, they set their minds to reduce trash and increase recycling (see second chart below).
  • A smaller trash cart coupled with a large recycling cart sends the right message to create less waste and reduce-reuse-recycle more.

7. How is trash related to global warming?

  • Think of all of the products and packaging we use every day.  The way we produce, consume and dispose of our products and our food accounts for 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (U.S. EPA, 2009, Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices).
  • Look closely at the truck graphic below and you will see that most of the items discarded as trash could be recycled if managed properly. That would mean less carbon dioxide emissions from trash incineration which in turn would slow climate change.

8. Why is a SMART trash program considered best practice?

9. Will a 35 gallon SMART trash program work for large families?

10. What if I have more questions?

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