Sunday, August 28, 2011

GET THE FACTS: Hamilton and Wenham Propose SMART Waste Removal Program

In an effort to reduce costs, increase recycling and expand the award winning curbside organic composting program, Hamilton and Wenham have proposed transitioning to a SMART (Save Money As you Reduce Trash) waste removal program.

In the Draft 2010-2020 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) has set a goal of “reducing annual solid waste disposal by 30% by 2020…through varying combinations of source reduction, recycling, and composting…” and by 2050 the goal is to reduce residential and commercial waste by 80%.

Aligning the towns with these goals has significant cost savings potential beyond the obvious environmental benefits of burning less trash.

What does the new SMART program include?

  • Recycling pick up increases to weekly and will change to single stream meaning no more separating your recyclables. The paper, bottles, cans, plastic etc will be separated at the recycling facility.

  • Organic recycling pick up will be expanded to town wide at no charge. The towns have applied for a grant to pay for both the inside and outside bins as well.

  • Solid Waste pick up will continue weekly, but will move to a Pay as You Throw (PAYT) program.

How does this expanded program save money?

  • Burning less and recycling more saves $28 -$68 per ton

There are two major costs associated with waste removal; hauling charges and tipping fees.

The hauling charges are those associated with picking up and transporting the material.
The towns have been able to negotiate a very favorable contact that enables the additional recycling and organic pickup. The waste hauler, Hiltz, has offered to purchase split trucks that can handle both types of recycling in order to support this program, reducing the total number of trips through town.

The tipping fees are those charged to dispose of the waste. Current charges for trash that gets burned are $68 dollars per ton. Organic waste costs about $40 per ton. There is no charge for recyclables. In 2010, Hamilton and Wenham sent 2912 tons to be burned (68.5%) and 1342 tons to free recycling (31.5%). The economic logic is compelling.

What will the PAYT program cost the average resident?

  • About $40 per year depending on your participation in recycling programs

The average Hamilton-Wenham household uses 11 33-gallon (large) overflow bags per year at a cost of $19.25/year.  Utilizing the enhanced single stream and organic recycling options available it is estimated the average household to reduce its waste by 30%.

The average household would need about 30 full size or 60 half-size bags per year (newly available with this program), at a cost of about $60 per year. This translates to an additional $40 per year for each household - a small price for a lot of service.

All Bag revenue will offset the town’s solid waste budget and reduce the amount of property tax revenue required.

The current Hamilton–Wenham Waste Reduction Program, which includes curbside organic recycling, has been an informative and beneficial first step toward the development of a sustainable town-wide program; a program that has the potential to serve as a model throughout the state for municipal curbside organic recycling. 

But more importantly, our efforts to-date put us at the forefront to capitalize on the objectives set forth by MDEP to dramatically reduce annual solid waste disposal costs and positively affect our environment. By instituting this “first in the Commonwealth” proposal, Hamilton and Wenham will continue to prove that municipalities can do well by doing “good”.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Will you “Grow a Row for Acord”?

“We’d kill for more tomatoes!”   That’s actually what Deb Baker of the Acord Food Pantry told me one day last winter, when I asked about their need for produce.  She said they need more of the basics: lettuce, carrots, tomatoes.

This is a problem we can help with!   I’ve grown 200 tomato seedlings in my daughter’s bedroom, and I plan to donate 50 of them to people willing to plant them in their garden and donate the tomatoes to Acord. 

Please join us in launching this important new program.  Click on the 'Grow A Row' tab above to signup and receive your free seeds, seedlings, compost, and tip sheet for growing.  We also have $3 tomato cages available as well, which is a super deal! 

Greg Horner
President, Hamilton-Wenham GREEN

Click on the Grow a Row tab on our website to learn more and SIGN UP!

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 16 OPEN HOUSE - garden theme

Hello and Happy Spring! 
Instead of our usual 'first Tuesday of the month' meeting, we'll be holding a special
garden-themed OPEN HOUSE evening at the library on May 16, 7-9 pm.

Stay tuned for more details, but we'll have free seeds on hand, plus tomato seedlings for anyone who is up for joining the community 'Grow A Row' program with Acord Food Pantry. (signups for that program will open soon)

We hope to do a raised bed building demonstration, and we'll have some knowledgeable people on hand to answer your garden-related questions.

Come talk gardens and get excited for spring planting!

Shred-It PLUS a success!

Thanks to all who brought personal documents for shredding, golf clubs for the troops, books and household items for reuse.  You helped us raise around $500 for environmental programs at the schools, and you helped out soldiers and families in need.

All this despite a miserable day - 40 degrees and raining!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This SATURDAY - Shred-It

Mark Your Calendars!
Shred It! Plus
Saturday, April 23rd
Hamilton-Wenham High School

Bring your old documents to have shredded before your very eyes. (1st box free, all others $5 each)

Donate your old clothing, shoes, belts, etc., to Big Brother/Big Sister. 

Got Books will recycle and donate your books, DVDs, CDs and albums. They are also collecting old golf clubs and sending them to our troops in Afghanistan.

Please note no electronics, white goods or furniture will be collected at this event.

For additional information email Josephine at 
Hope to see you on Saturday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SAVE THE DATE - 1st Annual Potluck! March10th

Please come join us in the celebration of H-W GREEN’s past accomplishments, present adventures and future dreams. We hope you can attend. It is going to be wicked fun.

Where: Hamilton-Wenham Community House 
When: Thursday, March 10th 7:00 pm
Please R.S.V.P. with dish idea to Josephine at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Next Open Meeting

Our next OPEN MEETING is Tuesday February 8, 2011 at the Hamilton Wenham Library Upstairs 7-8:30pm

We'll be discussing ideas for 2011 events and projects: 
Ideas on the table include a series of gardening-related events, an electronics recycling day, supporting the compost pickup program, and home energy efficiency projects.  Bring your ideas, or come weigh in on what you'd like to see from Hamilton-Wenham GREEN"

PS - Mark your calendars for our April 23 "Shred-It", paper shredding event for personal documents like tax forms.

350 Trees

In year 1 of the Christmas Tree recycling program, 350 trees were chipped and brought to Brick Ends Farm, which donated $350 to the Boy Scouts.  Next year, we're aiming for 1000!  Thanks to all who helped make this a success.