Single-Stream Recycling: Over the next couple of months you will be hearing a lot more about this. The Selectmen, in an effort to reduce the trash fee, has set a goal for the town of Stoneham to recycle 50 percent of our trash. The first step of this process is education. Most people are asking what is single stream recycling, and how does it save me money? Let's start with the basics.
What is single-stream recycling? Single stream recycling means no more sorting! With single stream, or "zero-sort" recycling, residents can mix clean bottles, cans, papers and cardboard together in the same recycling bin. This means that you can designate one of your current trash containers as a recycling container and place all of your recyclables in one place. Stickers to place on your recyclable container are available at the DPW located at 16 Pine St. For additional information, call 781-438-0760.
How does this save me money? The town of Stoneham pays what’s called a tipping fee to the waste management company for every ton of trash that goes into the incinerator. Currently, that number is $64 per ton; however, there is no charge for recyclables. This year we budgeted for 9,500 tons of trash to be incinerated at a cost of $608,000 per year in tipping fees, currently we are on pace for only 8,000 tons of trash due to increased recycling. If we can get that number down to 4,000 tons the town would save $304,000 and that money will go directly back to the residents in the form of a trash fee reduction of about $60 per household.
What can I place in this container?
- Newspapers, magazines, catalogs
- Telephone/soft cover books
- Junk mail/envelopes (all types)
- Paper (all colors, staples/paperclips are okay)
- Paperboard (cereal/shoe boxes)
- Milk/juice cartons
- Cardboard/brown paper bags
- Plastic food & beverage containers marked #1-7
- Soda/juice/water bottles (glass or plastic)
- Milk jugs, bleach/detergent, shampoo bottles
- Food containers (cottage cheese/margarine/yogurt)
- Glass bottles/jars (any color)
- Aluminum (pie plates/trays/foil)
- Metal cans (tin/steel/aluminum)
- Rigid plastic (laundry baskets/ buckets)
What is unacceptable?
- No plastic bags (or recyclables in plastic bags)
- No unmarked plastics (chairs/toys)
- No windows/light bulbs
- No dishes, no Pyrex, no ceramics
- No foam packaging, no styrofoam
- No aerosol cans (paint/hairspray/cleaners)
- No recyclables containing food waste
I have been experimenting with this for the last three months and have found it to be incredibly easy. I went as far as purchasing a 50-gallon blue recycling container on wheels and have reduced my trash by more than 50 percent, and it also takes up a lot less room in the garage. Some other things to consider when deciding what to put out for the trash pickup:
- Clothing is not recyclable, but there is a Goodwill bin in the back of Town Hall, and someone that could make good use of your gently worn clothing could benefit from this while keeping our trash tonnage down.
- Furniture: There are many charities that are always looking for good used furniture and most will pick it up at your house, such as the Mission of Deeds and Goodwill. Again, this will significantly help keep the trash fee down as well as helping out someone in need. So, let’s stop throwing our money away and start recycling the easy way.