Transfer Station and Recycling

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Transfer Station and Recycling

Postby Bob Holland » Sat Dec 14, 2002 11:40 pm

Last edited by Bob Holland on Wed Dec 25, 2002 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Debra Huffman » Sun Dec 15, 2002 7:31 am

You've raised a lot of good points and I will leave it to the more knowledgeable posters to respond to most of them, but your questions raised some questions of my own.

You mentioned that if we go with curbside we'll be subject to contract price increases. But if we have a TS, if I understand this correctly, we will have TWO contracts to worry about - one with a company to haul the trash away and one with a disposal site somewhere in Maine I think. What happens as that disposal site gets filled up and there's no where else to dump it? Won't their rates go sky high? Or what if they decide to no longer accept out-of-state trash? Seems to me that it's a risky part of the TS option.

At least with a curbside contract, we know they will always take our trash and get rid of it. The more towns they service, the more efficient their operation will be. They might have enough volume do waste-to-energy or something.

And if they raise their rates too high, we can quickly build a TS and haul our own trash, assuming we can always find a place to dispose of it. That's the threat that will keep their rates reasonable.

Seems to me like, wherever possible, we should let private enterprise run businesses and keep government out of it. Private enterprise will figure out how to do it most efficiently.

(Oops, I just realized that the topic title is specific to recycling. I apologize if I've gone off-topic on you. I, too, would hope we will do all we can to encourage recycling but don't yet know enough about it.)
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Postby Mark Fitzgerald » Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:48 am


Thanks for providing your thoughts. I copy below my comments from another thread:

........2 of the 3 communities close in size to us that have transfer stations, Salem and Keene, have private companies specializing in waste collection and disposal operate the facility for them......
The third community with a transfer station, Derry, is the only one that resembles anything we may build because they operate it themselves and don’t have PAYT. We can learn much from them about what we would face. Its interesting to note that of all the communities listed in the comparison thread including those with 100% curbside, Derry had the highest municipal 2001 cost at approximately $1,700,000.

I'd only add that the community with the best program in NH, and perhaps the Northeast for that matter, is Dover. They are listed by the EPA as a success story as far as waste and recycling volumes are concerned and their costs were among the lowest in the state per resident. They have curbside of waste and recycling with PAYT.

The fear of price increases is valid. We must remember however that 65% of the transfer station's costs also depend on long-term contracts with the hauling and disposal companies. These will increase in the same way the collection prices will increase. The other 35% are muni salaries and they increase as well. We also shouldn't forget that both the "big curbside guys" also own much of the disposal capacity we'd be looking to for a transfer station.

We can't forget the up-front costs either. A transfer station has capital costs of roughly $2,300,000 while curbside has capital costs of $290,000. Based on the proposals we have for both curbside and the hauling/disposal of a transfer station, we will never recover this extra $2,010,000 spent on the transfer station.

You're right on target Bob that the amount of recycling we do will determine our ultimate total costs. Thats why I think curbside makes the most sense. Recycling volumes are directly related to convenience.
Mark Fitzgerald

Postby Norman Phillips » Mon Dec 16, 2002 9:04 am

Debra and Bob. Let me comment here on the recycling issue by recalling some points I made at the Deliberative Session last March. I pointed out that during 2000 the weight of recycled materials was measured at the landfill. If I count only material that would otherwise have been tipped into the hole, ( e.g. I ignore tires, oil, clothes, etc. ) the recyclers saved the following material from going in the hole:
Newspaper 429
Corr. Cardboard 135
Glass 200
Mixed paper 24
Aluminum cans 13
Tin cans 36
Plastic bottles 58
for a total of 895 tons . In addition to the average $40,000 per year that was recovered by sale of the recyclables ( thereby paying the salary etc of one plus person ) this probably diverted a mass equal to about 25% by weight of the solid waste that the self-hauling recyclers did put in the hole. Over a period of 10 to 12 years, this diversion by the self-haulers alone would have saved one year of lifetime for the landfill. This seems to be of more economic benefit than the small amount left from the $40,000 per year after personnel costs are subtracted.

However, note that only about one third of our households took their trash to the landfill and presumably accounted for all this recycling.

In the proposed contract with Waste Management ( or with other companies ) recycled material is hauled away for a fixed set total price, while the community is charged by the ton for disposal of the remaining solid waste. Curbside will offer the recycling possibility for EVERY household instead of only those who are willing to travel to a transfer station. This might reduce our communal per ton costs by 25%. It seems to me that the engagement of everyone in this effort that is allowed by curbside would be worthwhile.
Sincerely, Norm Phillips
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How do you come up with 25% recycling rate?

Postby Nat Fairbanks » Mon Dec 16, 2002 9:59 am

Norman, several times I've seen you estimate that curbside will cause approx. 25% of our waste to be recycled. What basis do you use for that estimate?

Using information from your favorite example of a curbside community, Hudson, they only manage to recycle 11.2% of their total volume.

How do you explain the difference between your estimate and the reality of Hudson?

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Postby Wayne » Mon Dec 16, 2002 1:37 pm

It is a mistake to think that only self-haulers are bringing recyclables to the landfill. I have curbside pickup, but I still bring all of my recycling there because it is just the right thing to do. I doubt, and I hope, that I'm not alone.

It has always been an inconvenience that I put up with, and now I wonder if it's currently even costing the town more for me/us to do this. It sure seems that curbside recycling will definitely be a cost savings, and it will be quite a relief to me if we go that route.
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Postby Norman Phillips » Mon Dec 16, 2002 4:52 pm

Nat--my data came from page 8 in the September 2001 SWAC report, and the assumption that self-haulers did all, or almost all the recycling. This assumption was based on my own experience, in that whenever I have left the Dan Ayer building, I always see the people who preceded me on their way up the hill to get rid of Solid Waste. On the other hand, if Wayne Johnson is not an isolated individual, then there may be enough determined recyclers like him to skew the result.

His experience, if representative of others, would show that the recyclables collected in 2000 came from a larger group than those who self-haul. It would then be wrong for me to assume that it was merely those who came to the landfill to get rid of their trash.

Incidentally I did not count the 546 tons of scrap metal that were recycled in 2000, since I assumed that it would not be put in the hole even if there was no organized recycling process in the Dan Ayer building. If I were to include scrap metal as recycled material, the rate would go up by 50% to perhaps an overall rate by those recyclers of 35%. However, I can easily imagine that anyone with a sizeable amount of scrap metal to get rid of would bring it to that particular pile on Fearon Road no matter how he/she gets rid of their ordinary SW.

I have not had a chance to investigate Hudson's recycling effort. They use BFI, and perhaps different waste companies have different ways to sell recyclables. If there is no economic benefit accruing for recycling in Hudson----as you state Nat---- then residents might not be so conscientious in recycling. My vague recollection is that several years ago Hudson only recycled plastics.

Mark, how does the fee for taking away recyclables by WM compare with the per ton cost of taking away MSW? Is such a comparison possible?
Sincerely, Norm Phillips
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Postby skip falcon » Mon Dec 16, 2002 5:21 pm

I'm like Wayne. I pay a private hauler but take my bottles, etc to the land fill. A number of my neighbors do likewise. I would love to have my stuff all picked up at my house, but until then will drive to the dump myself.
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Postby Bob Holland » Mon Dec 16, 2002 7:56 pm

Last edited by Bob Holland on Wed Dec 25, 2002 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jim O'Toole » Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:56 pm

Add me to the list of people who have curbside and still recycle everything. I travel to the recycling center every other week. Usually on Saturday. Maybe the town could do a survey of the people recycling and ask if they are self-haulers or have curbside. I feel that I am doing my part to extend the life of the current landfill by recycling as well as being sensitive to the environment. As an aside, whenever I travel up the hill to dump what my current hauler will not pick up I see many self-haulers throwing recyclable items in the landfill. I believe there then must be some form of incentive or penalty for this behavior. Until people realize that you cannot just throw everything away for free we will never solve the dilemma we as a town face.
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Postby Muriel Lortie » Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:56 pm

On the Explanation of Curbside Recommendation thread, don hudon from Hudson, NH stated on his Dec. 1 posting; trash removal goes out to bid and we get a cut of all the recycling that gets taken in.

I interpret this to mean that the Town of Hudson gets a kickback from BFI on the recycling that gets taken away at the curb.
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Actually, this is what the town of Hudson had to say

Postby Nat Fairbanks » Mon Dec 16, 2002 10:17 pm

From the AdHoc SWAC minutes, and posted on this forum at by Dick Hinch

- recycle nearly everything; annual cost for recycling is $220,800, which includes collection and disposal
- contract with BFI
- total recycling annual collection 1,314/tons

That's the information I used to come up with the $168 per ton cost to Hudson for recycling.

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Postby Mark Cloutier » Tue Dec 17, 2002 7:46 am

I also have curbside pickup but, bring all my recyclables to the recycling center myself.
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Postby Ann Goldman » Tue Dec 17, 2002 8:18 am

I think we really need to find out whether or not recyclables are on a pay as you throw basis in other towns because so many voters vote with their pocketbooks first.

Many of my neighbors who drive to the dump don't bother to recycle as well as many of those who pay for private haulers.

I think that whether or not we have curbside or a transfer station, we should have pay as you throw for non-recylclables as an incentive to recycle as much as possible.

I am very curious how many of the transfer station proponents would switch over to curbside if the proposed transfer station was PAYT. I know that some of my neighbors are in favor of a transfer station just because they think it will be cheaper for them personally.

I also believe that if the people in town thought that the transfer station would be near their homes they would not vote for it. An example is the Horseshoe Pond neighborhood which includes Island Drive and Horseshoe Pond condos. This neighborhood is adjacent to industrial property (Wright Ave) and has been mentioned in the past as a potential transfer station location. The traffic is already horrendous because it is slightly north of Skyline Mall and Shaws. There may be other industrial areas near residential areas too.
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Postby Mark Fitzgerald » Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:07 pm


You really have touched on the heart of the matter. With no PAYT in place self-haulers will enjoy free dumping while the rest of the community covers the cost to take away the self-hauler's waste. The BOS and Administration both know this yet do nothing to preventing it from happening.

This is obviously unfair, but worse yet it won't survive economically. The result of a TS with no PAYT will be that the cost to those with collection will increase because our costs have increased. The $40 tipping fee is a thing of the past after 12/31/03. The new price will be at least $90/ton and that will be passed along to those with private collection. This increase in cost will lead to many of those with collection becoming self-haulers, leaving fewer and fewer residents to carry the entire financial burden. Fewer residents with private collection will equate to less revenues, causing the tipping fee to increase even higher to cover costs, which drives more to self-haul for free. The system eats itself alive Anne. Soon enough the enterprise dies because of its own built-in inequity and we're left with what Derry has, an financial mess with employees wading through trash bags. This isn't a solid waste program.

Jim, this is the true cost of your "choice".
Mark Fitzgerald


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