Westborough prepares for Pay as You Throw program

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Westborough prepares for Pay as You Throw program
Taylor Millspaugh, center, director of municipal partnerships for Waste Zero, oversees a game where participants throw small bags into buckets meant for trash and recycling. Waste Zero is the trash bag vendor for many communities in Massachusetts, and it will be Westborough’s once the town begins its Pay As You Throw program on July 1. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – Pay as You Throw (PAYT) will soon become part of residents’ trash and recycling disposal routine.

On March 16 at the Environmental Action Fair, the Board of Health ran an information booth about the new program, which will go into effect on July 1.

The booth included flyers about the program, how to recycle and some visual aids, including two filled PAYT bags – one 15-gallon bag and a 33-gallon bag. 

Residents will pay for the bags ($10 per roll of 10 15-gallon bags, or $10 per roll of five 33-gallon bags). The bags will be available for purchase at the public health office, the senior center and local retailers. A list of these retailers will be announced in May.

Residents will continue to pay for proof-of-residency stickers to access the transfer station. The stickers will be active for 12 months instead of 24 months. Town Manager Kristi Williams said the cost of the stickers will be reduced to a price yet to be determined because residents are being asked to pay for PAYT bags.

The stickers and the bags will help cover the operation costs of the transfer station.

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The transfer station will continue to be open for recycling; because of costs there will not be a single-stream system, but there will be a three-stream system for paper, glass and plastic/metal.

The proposed budget for trash removal for the 2025 fiscal year will be $727,500. That could be reduced depending on how much trash is diverted from the waste stream via PAYT.

Williams said that based on estimates from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, PAYT could reduce the town’s waste stream by about 25%; the revenue from the PAYT bags is estimated to be about $200,000. A portion of the revenue would go back to the town.

According to the Board of Health, the town currently disposes of 2,900 pounds of trash per year; most communities in Central Massachusetts average about 1,300 pounds per year.

The Department of Environmental Protection also offers a grant for implementing the program; according to Williams, at $10 per dropoff user the grant could generate about $16,000 to be used for education on trash and recycling.

The Select Board approved the implementation plan during its March 12 meeting; the plan will be submitted to the state to secure grant funding.

Town officials are negotiating with Harvey’s/Waste Management for a multiyear contract. The town is also negotiating a contract with WasteZero, a PAYT vendor that serves many communities in the state.

Information sessions will be scheduled for April and June.

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