Grant to help Amherst plan change to trash, recycling services

  • A state grant will help Amherst explore a single contractor town trash and recycling system. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Friday, November 25, 2022

AMHERST — A possible change in how trash, recyclables and compostables are removed from Amherst households, in hopes of reducing the amount of material that ends up in the regional waste stream, is being supported with a technical assistance grant from the state.

Amherst officials announced receipt on Nov. 15 of the Department of Environmental Protection grant that will provide the Department of Public Works up to 80 hours of help to develop a proposal for contracting solid waste and recycling services.

The assistance could help Amherst move from a system where residents are obligated to hire a hauler approved by the town, or to bring their trash and recyclables directly to the transfer station on Belchertown Road, to one in which there would be a townwide contract for waste and recycling hauling services.

One idea being considered is to have a pay-as-you throw system and an efficient collection of materials that would reduce direct costs for residents. There would also be pickup of compostable materials, including food scraps, pizza boxes and yard waste, from all households, ensuring that organic matter is diverted from landfills.

The consultant will work with a team that includes a supervisor for the town’s Solid Waste Division, the Department of Public Works superintendent and Town Manager Paul Bockelman.

“This allocation of expert time will support the town as we continue to explore how we can improve services to our residents, become more efficient, and address climate issues,” Bockelman said in a statement.

At the end of the process, the town would have a request for proposal ready to be advertised for the townwide waste-hauling services.