The spiraling cost for disposal of household solid waste is not unique to Standish and is a problem confronting most municipalities. Standish's budget for use of the transfer station for FY-09 is $563,627. The household waste tonnage for FY-08 was 3104 tons, down almost 113 tons from the previous year. Residents need to continue their recycling efforts in order to continue to lower this number.
Unlike most towns, Standish accepts many types of solid wastes which must be disposed of. These special wastes must be handled in various ways and at different locations, all for a fee per ton. In order to provide this service to citizens, the Town Council has implemented separate fees for the disposal of special wastes. Certain items such as cardboard and other recyclable material are free as they can generate revenue. Our new Universal Waste shed stores mercury, batteries, and fluorescent light bulbs.
Household solid waste is our biggest expense. The average household disposes a ton of solid waste per year. The Council, in cooperation with the Recycling and Solid Waste Management Committee, has been monitoring our tonnage and expenses in this area for the past year. One of the surest ways to reduce our tonnage and cost is to recycle. There is a special market for recycled goods for which we receive revenues.
Many municipalities including Standish have considered, or have implemented, a pay as you throw (PAYT) or pay per bag (PPB) program. This is a sure way to reduce our tonnage as it hits the pocketbook of the user. When it does, they will recycle instead of disposing all their trash into the hopper.
PAYT coupled with a strong recycling effort could reduce our tonnage by a minimum of 20% and maybe as much as 50% if people would compost their food waste and other materials. To this end, the Recycling Committee is undertaking an educational program to encourage and promote recycling. Follow the website and watch for promotional mailings, brochures, and special programming on Channel 5.