Tri-Town board to debate plan to have trash haulers provide recycling services

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LEE — A proposal that would require trash haulers to provide recycling services to all of their customers in Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge will be debated Monday at a public hearing.

The Tri-Town Board of Health will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at the Airoldi Building on Railroad Street, as part of the board's regular meeting.

The new regulations would require haulers to bundle recycle pickup with regular waste collection, even if customers refuse. Commercial food waste collection can be provided separately, but if the business generates more than 1 ton of food waste each week, then food-waste collection must be included as part of the package, per state environmental regulations.

If approved, the regulations would take effect April 1.

Tri-Town Health Department Director James Wilusz said the ultimate goal is to promote effective recycling and waste reduction at no added cost to the consumer.

"There are still some homeowners putting recyclables banned from the waste stream into the trash. They can't keep doing that," he said.

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Glass, metal, plastic containers, paper, newspaper and cardboard are the most commonly recycled materials.

Wilusz noted that the hauler is responsible for refusing to collect any container that has recyclables mixed with the waste, but those who are recycling properly must be accommodated under the new regulations.

"When I got a complaint a hauler wasn't picking up recyclables, I couldn't force the hauler to collect them," he said.

Family-owned Daley and Sons Trucking, based in Lee, and Republic Services, a national hauler with a facility in Cheshire, are the primary haulers in the three municipalities, according to Wilusz. The company's website states that it already provides extensive recycling to its customers.

Six years ago, Daley and Sons began single-stream recycling, eliminating the chore of separating paper/cardboard from the glass, metal and plastic items, all in an effort to increase recycling.The regulations also should help Tri-Town keep better tabs on recycling in Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge.

"The haulers will be required to provide annual tonnage reports on waste and recyclables so we can start building a database," he said.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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