Westport Transfer Station is a recycling machine

Posted 11/14/19

Welcome to Westport Health Notes, a monthly column from the Westport Board of Health (BOH). The goal is to share information with our community about local issues and projects, public health alerts, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?

Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.

Westport Transfer Station is a recycling machine


Welcome to Westport Health Notes, a monthly column from the Westport Board of Health (BOH). The goal is to share information with our community about local issues and projects, public health alerts, and even fun facts about the A to Z scope of responsibility that local Boards of Health manage.

We at the Westport Board of Health (BOH) administer the Town’s Transfer Station (aka “the dump”) at 72 Hixbridge Road. As users know, there is an annual sticker fee of $35 per car ($20 if over age 65). Once paid, we accept general trash for $4 per 33-gallon bag, while paper, plastics, metals and glass recycling are free. We also have donation bins for clean, usable clothing. Yard waste, including leaves, weeds, grass clipping and pine needles (no stumps or brush) can also be brought in for composting. There is a fee for disposal of other objects, such as tires, furniture, carpets, mattresses, TVs and monitors. You can check out all the details on the Town website: https://www.westport-ma.com/transfer-station.
The recycling operation at our Transfer Station is relatively sophisticated in that it recycles “source- separated” trash. As a result, there are different bins for five kinds of plastics and three kinds of fiber/paper products, as well as glass and metals. If in doubt about where something should go, just ask Fred, Tim or Anthony. The staff are always there to help. The other method familiar to those who contract for private curbside pickup is called “single stream”, as all recycling goes into one bin that must be further separated. We believe the “source separated” approach produces better economics.
One surprise, to me at least, is that our general trash also gets repurposed. The transfer station collects about 1,000 tons per year of general trash, which we take to New Bedford Waste Services and are charged a tipping fee of $74/ton. What I have learned in recent years is that New Bedford Waste, after some processing, sends our waste to Covanta’s SEMASS waste-to-energy facility in West Wareham. There the trash is burned in the 84-MW facility to generate steam and electricity. So even our general trash gets converted to a new use!
Many of you reading this article have heard about the disruption in recycling markets resulting from China no longer accepting American plastic waste. This has led to a glut of plastics and lower prices. We now receive no payment for most plastics and actually must pay 10 cents/lb. to recycle rigid plastic.
Other recycling pricing trends are also negative. On the paper side, we must now pay $70/ton and $15/ton to recycle mixed paper and cardboard, respectively. While we still get paid for metal and newspaper, the metal trend is down. Mid-City Scrap, which takes all of our recycling (except glass), has historically sent us checks for our recyclables. However, in the face of these adverse pricing trends, these checks are shrinking and at some point we may start receiving invoices rather than checks. This is not good because the Transfer Station’s budget, run separately from the BOH budget, has no provision for such an expense. The Transfer Station’s budget for FY 2020 is $278,141; virtually all of it is covered by user fees and the BOH is working to keep it that way.
The Westport Transfer Station is open five days per week from Thursday through Monday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. It is closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and holidays. Please note our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend schedule, which is the same every year: closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, but open normal hours on Saturday and Sunday.
 — Submitted by Maurice E. May, board member

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.