Shrewsbury to change trash hauler

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A blue, pay-as-you-throw trash bag sits at the end of a driveway on Brook Street in Shrewsbury. The town has recently faced a shortage of the trash bags. Photo/Laura Hayes
A blue, pay-as-you-throw trash bag sits at the end of a driveway on Brook Street in Shrewsbury. The town recently changed its trash and recycling hauler to Casella.
(Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – Changes will soon be coming to Shrewsbury’s trash collection.

Assistant Town Manager for Operations Keith Baldinger on Nov. 14 informed the Select Board that the town has chosen Casella Waste Management of Massachusetts as the new waste and recycling hauler for fiscal 2025. Casella is currently Shrewsbury’s yard waste hauler.

Casella will replace Waste Management, which currently has the town’s waste and recycling contract.

After requesting proposals from vendors in July, the town received three competitive bids for the contract. Shrewsbury interviewed finalists in September, and eventually selected Casella as the new waste and recycling hauler in October.

The town entered a six-year agreement with Casella. Casella’s services will cost Shrewsbury between $1.82 (year one) and $2.41 million (year six). Casella was the lowest bidder by 14%.

The shift to Casella will bring about several changes, according to Baldinger.

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Shrewsbury will change to weekly single-stream recycling; the town currently has dual-stream recycling, where residents alternate weekly between recycled paper and glass, plastic and cans. Community members will now put all recyclables out for collection together. The curbside recycling customers will also be given “recycling carts” for putting out recyclables. The town-owned carts will be required for Casella to collect recycled material.

The town’s pay-as-you-throw system will remain unchanged.

Shrewsbury will soon have numerous initiatives to educate the public on the upcoming changes.

Casella has several advantages, according to the town.

Casella has live customer service agents who answer phones Monday through Saturday. The company also has an email option for customer service. The company also has an app that aims to help communicate information like pickup schedules to residents and help community members determine what can and cannot be recycled.

Casella’s trucks are equipped with cameras, allowing for better customer service, improved quality control and accountability. The cameras can also spot offenders of any waste violations.

Baldinger also pointed to Casella’s previous experience with Shrewsbury roads, noting that the company’s familiarity with the town should help them collect trash accurately and consistently from the very start of the contract. The company currently has sufficient equipment to start the contract and won’t have to order new vehicles to keep up with demand.

The contract with Casella includes language regarding recourse for non-performance, which is not included in the town’s current Waste Management contract. According to Baldinger, the contract includes 20-plus potential wrongdoings to which would result in the company paying damages. For instance, if Casella does not finish a route without an excuse, the company would pay the town $5,000.

The company will continue providing already-existing services — like bulk waste, white goods, and electronics collections — and may offer other programs to residents, including curbside mattress collection and food waste collection.

Casella also tracks disposal weights of municipal buildings, allowing the town to improve sustainability efforts throughout the town’s buildings.

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