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Editorial: Talkin’ some serious trash in Hamilton and Wenham - Hamilton, MA on Astini News

We're talkin' trash.

Not your mother likes Wayne Newton. Not your father listens to Toto. Not your sister idolizes Justin Bieber. Not that kind of trash talking.

We're talkin' real trash.

Banana peels. Styrofoam. Pizza boxes. Used paper towels. Junk mail. Stuff we all used to toss into a barrel and forget.

Not any more.

Hamilton and Wenham are about to go to a totally new level of trash management where probably a good 80 percent of the trash a normal household generates can be recycled — and households who fail to use recycling bins will pay extra for their trash removal.

The program is designed to save money by increasing recycling and reducing the communities' trash flow, which costs taxpayers money to dispose of.

The waste collection program starts in both Hamilton and Wenham during the first week of April. In Wenham, that means pickup days are Monday or Tuesday, April 2 or 3; in Hamilton, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, April 4, 5, or 6. Pickup days will likely be the same as always.

The changes start with basic recycling. From now on all the recycled materials — glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, etc. — can all go into a single bin. This in recycling lingo is called "single-stream" recycling. Bottom line? It makes recycling much easier.

Both towns have added curbside composting to the recycling mix, which allows residents to recycle items like used pizza boxes, food-soiled paper, bones, meat and the usual assortment of apple cores, peelings and other vegetable waste.

Both Hamilton and Wenham will issue curbside compost bins and countertop compost containers as part of the program.

In addition, both towns have begun issuing new trash barrels that will fit automated pickup, saving money on labor costs.

Hamilton will limit residents to one of those town-issued trash barrels every other week and Wenham will pick up just one barrel every week. Residents who go over their trash allotment will have to buy special bags to accommodate the overflow. These town trash bags will be available locally at Crosby's or Dawson's Hardware in two sizes: $1.75 and $1 in Hamilton and $2 and $1 in Wenham. Hamilton bags will be blue; green in Wenham.

No doubt the changes will come as shock to some residents, as a pain in the neck to others and a welcome embracing of more ecological and affordable ways to deal with trash for others.

The reality is residents can lose more teachers and police to pay for trash removal or they can save money by reducing the towns' overall trash flow and recycle more. At the start it may be an uncomfortable adjustment for many, but it's one well worth making.


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