For the past several years, the town has asked residents to put their spring yard waste out by the curb during the first two weeks in May. This year, Director John Phillips wants to try something that should save the town money and make the collection greener in the process.
Instead of two weeks of yard waste collection, the town will move to three, but the weeks will move to one each in April, May and June. The waste will be composted instead of going into the refuse stream, where it gets burned for energy, Phillips said.
"It's cheaper for us to recycle yard waste than put it in the waste stream," he said. "It gets composted and returned to the environment instead of burned."
Disposing of the yard waste by incinerating it with the regular trash costs $69 per ton, but composting it costs $29.50 per ton, Phillips said. The net savings during the three-month yard waste collection period could be as high as $70,000, he said, if residents keep their yard waste out of regular trash barrels.
"Taxpayers can do their part and help save the town some money," Phillips said. "If we all participate, we keep costs down."
The first round of collection will also take place earlier so that residents who want to clean up their yards right away don't have to hold on to the waste or dispose of it elsewhere. The first round of collection will start Monday, April 11; the second will begin Monday, May 9; and the third will start on Monday, June 6. During each collection week, town crews will make a complete pass through each neighborhood, beginning with the Monday trash collection streets and proceeding through the Friday collection.
Residents are asked to place their yard waste in biodegradable paper bags at the curb, separate from their trash, by 6 a.m. on their regular trash day. Branches up to 4 inches in diameter and up to 4 feet in length can be bundled in twine and will be recycled into wood chips. If bundles are tied with wire, nylon or plastic twine, they will not be collected.
"What doesn't fit in a bag, they have to help us by creating a pile we can handle," Phillips said.
Public Works defines yard waste as "leaves, pine needles, pine cones, acorns, twigs, dead plant matter from last year's annuals and perennials and thatch. It does not include soil, rocks or grass clippings."
Yard waste can still be brought to the recycling center at 25 Brixton Street. The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. In April and May, the center is also open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and in June, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.