Every tax is a pay cut. Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Here is another fine example of how the town collects more and more money to do less and less. Recycling should not be forced down our throats. If it becomes too inconvenient, we still have to throw garbage away ourselves by taking it to a dump in Natick or Southboro.|
|Town touts an incentive for recycling||Wednesday, January 29, 2003|
|D. Craig MacCormack||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Recycling advocates are touting the merits of a proposed
new program they say could mirror the success of other towns that have
switched to the specially marked bags or stickers for trash pickup.
But don't dare call the Board of Public Works' idea a "pay as you throw" initiative. The concept is "incentive-based recycling," board members said, because the first bag of trash would be picked up free.
Regardless of what it's called, Chairman Dick Daly sees thousands of reasons why selectmen and residents should support the switch, which his three-person team hopes can start by the fall.
"If we have less to go in the ordinary trash, we don't have to pay that extra fee," said Daly. "It's a way to save money to encourage people to do more recycling. It will help people in the long run.
"Like apple pie and motherhood, recycling is good," he said.
If approved by selectmen, Framingham's program would feature one free bag or barrel of trash. The charge for all subsequent bags or barrels has not been determined, said Daly, but he expects it would be "nominal."
Selectmen Chairman Esther Hopkins is among those who have publicly backed an incentive-based recycling program.
A handful of MetroWest towns -- including Holliston, Hudson, Medway, Sudbury and Upton -- are among more than 100 cities and towns that have adopted similar programs, and officials there say the towns are reaping the benefits.
Since adopting the program in July 2001, Medway's recycling rate has shot up -- it's now about 60 percent -- saving the town thousands in rubbish disposal costs. Holliston's rate has jumped from 29 percent to 46 percent since it started.
Framingham collects about 18,000 tons of trash each year, said Department of Public Works board member Bill Haberman. If that number drops by 1,000 tons, the savings would be about $85,000, he said.
That would offset start-up costs, which include buying enough specially printed plastic bags for each of the 15,000 households where trash is collected in town and administrative costs to local stores that hand out the bags.
The most common argument for such programs is equity. While the cost of normal trash pickup is borne equally by all residents, there is no consideration of how much trash each resident generates.
Money raised with the fees is often used to support recycling programs, encouraging residents to cut their trash output by recycling, and saving the town money by reducing the overall amount of trash that is picked up.
"When people first hear they'll pay a fee for trash disposal, they do get upset," said Haberman. "But the more they hear about what we want to do, it sounds reasonable to them."
Spreading the message is the key, said Daly. He hopes to hand out door hangers that tell residents why to recycle and what is recyclable before the program kicks off.
"It's a matter of educating the town and the school (officials) as well," he said. "They do recycle, but we want them to do more. It takes a while to get the message out."
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