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?
- Compost fruit and veggie scraps in a worm bin or backyard composting bin. The Town of Sharon sells compost bins at subsidized cost – contact the DPW for details. Learn about composting and different types of bins from MassDEP: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/recycle/reduce/home-composting-and-green-landscaping.html
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?
- SMART programs are considered best practice for waste reduction by the EPA and MassDEP because they provide a direct incentive for residents to reduce trash in order to reduce costs. (https://archive.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/payt/web/html/index.html and http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/recycle/reduce/pay-as-you-throw-payt.html)
- SMART programs are already successfully in 147 Massachusetts towns. These generate 25-40% less trash per household compared with Sharon.
- SMART trash towns qualify for state grant money because these programs have consistently demonstrated the greatest reductions in trash generation over time and across all community types.
9. Will a 35 gallon SMART trash program work for large families?
- As these three families explain, families of 5, 6, and even 8 can achieve this trash capacity by watching their waste:
10. What if I have more questions?
- Watch http://www.sharontv.com/video/trash-forum/ and http://www.sharontv.com/video/fyi-sustainable-sharon-trash-collection/.
- Contact town officials for trash program options. Email Kathi Mirza email@example.com or Cheryl Schnitzer firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about SSC’s trash proposal.