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Trash, Recyclables Tonnage Declines

The amount of household waste Milford residents throw out has been on a steady decline over the past four years, from 9,706.5 tons in calendar year 2007 to 8,796.4 tons in 2010. That 9.4 percent reduction in trash breaks down to a 2.4 percent reduction from in 2008 (9,469.8 tons) compared to 2007; a 6.9 percent reduction in 2009 (8,815.4 tons) compared to 2008; and, a 0.2 percent reduction in 2010 compared to 2009.

"Really, when you have a recession, trash [tonnage] goes down," said Public Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli.

The amount that Milford residents recycle has also been declining, from 1,473.7 tons in calendar year 2008 to 1,425.1 tons in 2009 (a 3.3 percent decline year to year) to 1,414.9 tons in 2010 (a 0.7 percent decline year to year). That's a total decline of 4.0 percent. "People aren't buying as much anymore," Mazzuchelli commented.

The Board of Health reviewed those figures at its January 10 meeting, as members discussed how to get people to increase the amount they recycle. Michael Szczepan, division manager for Allied Waste Services – the town's waste hauler – suggested programs to get elementary school children more involved, saying, "We'll talk about recycling and how important it is."

Mazzuchelli – who also serves on the School Committee – said he would check to make sure that each school has an active recycling program. "We're trying to mimic in the schools what we're doing throughout the town," he said. Principal Francis Anderson of the Memorial Elementary School secured a $5,000 grant from Lowe's to build an outdoor education classroom that includes a recycling center, Mazzuchelli said.

Board member Kenneth Evans said that a resident participating in the tax abatement program for senior citizens will help out by driving around the town and monitor who doesn't recycle on a consistent basis – meaning several weeks in a row. Szczepan said those residents will be left reminder notes.

In his own hometown of Pascoag, R.I., Szczepan noted a program was implemented in which, after a two month's warning period, residents who do not recycle do not have their trash picked up. If residents don't have any recyclables, they put out an empty bin to signify that, he explained.


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