Hamilton’s “new” trash program was researched and proposed by the Waste Reduction Committee and supported by the Finance and Advisory Committee before the Board of Selectmen voted to adopt the new program.
Though the program has been referred to as an “Every Other Week” (EOW) program, the name refers only to the no cost aspect of solid waste collection. Hamilton will continue to offer more free collection than many of the surrounding towns, including Gloucester and Manchester, which require Pay As You Throw (PAYT) where all solid waste has to be in pre-paid trash bags.In fact, 142 or 40.5% of the state’s municipalities have full, PAYT programs.
Trash will continue to be picked up every week on your regularly scheduled day, however the new program does include an alternating week schedule using the black barrel one week, then using blue bags to dispose of your trash the following week.
Black barrel weeks will allow residents to throw away rubbish as you currently do without the need for “blue bags,” unless there is overflow for any additional trash that does not fit in the black barrel.
The in-between weeks, known as “blue bag” weeks, with the Sunday highlighted in blue on the 2020 Trash Calendar, require all trash to be in blue bags.
Residents can still put the filled blue bags in their black barrel to leave for the curbside pickup to prevent scavenging of rodents and other animals. If all food waste is composted, in the provided green bin, this should not be a problem.
Recycling and compost will continue to be collected at no cost every week.
The requirement of the purchase of Hamilton blue bags is NOT a money raising endeavor. The program is designed to encourage people to reduce their amount of waste by removing all possible compostable and recyclable items that otherwise would go into the solid waste stream. This program is a cost containment effort.
The “Blue Bag Week” option is intended to ensure that all residential customers have access to the same services and provide an option for those residents who put more into the trash stream do so at their cost, rather than burdening all taxpayers further.
The Hamilton Foundation received $1,000 in donations to purchase blue trash bags. These bags were then donated to Acord, which will distribute them to their Hamilton clients who are unable to afford the bags. Once this limited supply of bags is distributed, Acord will no longer be able to offer the bags to its clients. Compostable bags will also be given out with the blue bags as the overall reduction in solid waste trash is a goal (more recycling and more composting).
The change to this program DOES NOT reduce the cost of trash collection for the town; it is designed to prevent the costs from continuing to escalate.