The bulky waste fee structure was developed based on an analysis of what other communities charge. The individual fees are less than what private haulers charge for the same item.
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The purpose of charging for bulky waste is to help cover the cost of running the Transfer Station, which helps keep the cost down for permit holders and tax-payers. The costs to haul away solid waste and recycling are increasing and bulkier items take up room in the dumpster creating higher disposal expense. Currently, taxpayers are subsidizing the cost of disposing of large bulky waste. The best way to reduce bulky waste, and therefore the cost of running the Transfer Station, is to charge for it.
A two-week study was conducted at the Transfer Station where the prices for bulky waste items were applied to items on the list being thrown away during those two weeks. In that time, $3,600 would have been collected. This money will help offset the disposal costs and it will not create a profit.
The permit fee could be raised but that is not an equitable approach for all users of the Transfer Station.
A bulky item is something that you as an individual do not necessarily dispose of that frequently, such as a couch or washing machine; however, on a whole of all permit holders, bulky items add up. Rather than passing the cost to all permit holders, especially when there are items that can be reused or donated, the cost is brought down to the individual.
Remember, if it fits in a tall kitchen bag, it is not necessarily subject to the bulky fee and many bulky items can be reused or donated.
At the time the Select Board established the price of a Transfer Station permit in September 2020, a small increase in the fee was made to keep the tax subsidy of the Transfer Station operating costs within established bounds. No increase in permit fees had been made in the two prior years. Over the past three years, the increase in permit prices for most households averages slightly more than 2% a year, well below the increase in the cost of running the Transfer Station (the increase was even less for older adults).
The increase was kept low with the expectation that anticipated revenue from bulky waste would help make up the difference.
Charging for bulky waste is part of a series of changes being made at the Transfer Station to reduce the amount of solid waste that the Transfer Station must process. Composting began in October of 2020. Phasing in the changes gives residents time to get used to the new systems.
If the item is larger than 2’ x 2’ x 2’, or bigger than what will fit inside a tall kitchen (13 gal.) garbage bag, then it is a bulky item.
Some items, such as a wood pallet, can be broken down into smaller pieces, which would either reduce or avoid the bulky fee. Some bulky items can also be broken down into individual recyclables. Let's say you have a small couch to dispose of that cannot be donated or sold. This item can be broken down:
No. Charging for bulky waste is separate from PAYT.
PAYT and bulky waste fees are based on a common philosophy, however, which is that unit-based pricing for trash disposal is the best way to encourage recycling and ensure that we are only throwing away items that truly have no value to anyone else.
The Swap Shed is currently closed due to the pandemic. When it reopens, new policies will be implemented to prevent items from being put in the swap shed to avoid the bulky waste disposal fee.
Bulky items that can be reused should be donated to charitable organizations listed on the Bulky Waste donation/recycle information sheet, or otherwise sold or given away. Some of the organizations listed will pick items up.
Both wood and metal are waste ban items, per state law. This means they must be separated from the solid waste steam. These items are processed differently, resulting in an additional expense to the Transfer Station. Larger, bulky items take up more room in the dumpster resulting in more expense to process. So, yes the items are recyclable but there are fees associated with recycling. The bulky fee rates are being applied to cover the expense to process the larger items.
Not all plastics can be recycled. Items that are labeled recyclable and can easily fit into the plastic compactor are not considered bulky waste. Non-recyclable plastics (no symbol) and large plastic items that cannot fit in the regular plastic hopper will have a bulky item fee applied to it.
This is a new program and with all new programs there will be bumps along the way. We are anticipating the need to make adjustments and we ask for your patience. The attendants at the Transfer Station will be trained on the program and payment system and, as always, are there to help our users with any and all questions.
Bulky items can be paid for on site with a credit or debit card. An online shop is also available where items can be paid for before your trip to the Transfer Station. At this time, only credit or debit cards will be accepted.
A rug is not installed wall to wall in a room whereas carpet is. Carpet is considered a demolition item, which isn’t accepted at the Transfer Station. As for rugs, take a look at your rug and determine if it can be recycled? If it isn’t wet, moldy or soiled with oil or another hazardous chemical it may be recycled but only if it can fit inside the textile recycling bin.
In order to access the Transfer Station, you will need to have a permit sticker. A Recycle Only Permit and a Five-day Pass are available from the Treasurer/Collector. See WestonMA.gov/TSPermits for additional information and permit application.