Westport Health Notes: Lots to report at the transfer station

By Tanja Ryden
Posted 6/15/22

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 …

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Westport Health Notes: Lots to report at the transfer station

Posted

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-Z scope of responsibility that local Boards of Health manage.

This month we highlight changes coming to the Transfer Station at 72 Hixbridge Road. First off, users must get their new annual sticker by July 1. The sticker fees remain the same and can be purchased at the Transfer Station (check or money order only) and at the Board of Health (which also accepts cash). Those without a sticker can purchase one day passes.

Due to rising hauling and disposal costs, the trash disposal fees are going up as of July 1st. The trash fee will go up to $5 per 33-gallon bag, with a discount if you purchase a 10-bag punch card at $45, while the 5-bag punch card will be $25. In addition, there are new fees for disposal of other items, such as furniture, mattresses, tires, etc. Go to the Transfer Station webpage for all the details:  https://www.westport-ma.com/transfer-station-recycling-center

So now is the time to focus on recycling as much as you can – that will help lower costs for you and for the town! We also strongly encourage reuse and/or recycling to conserve disposal capacity, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save energy. Every bit helps.

Did you know the average American throws away over 80 pounds of clothes a year, which amounts to six percent of the national waste stream? You can do something about that!  The Transfer Station facility has two new Clothing/Textile Recycling Bins, which benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters non-profit organization.  In addition to wearable clothing and shoes, you can place items that are ripped or stained in these bins, as long as they are clean.  And as of November 1, 2022, the state is banning all textiles from being disposed of in the trash.  This is not limited to clothing; the ban also includes footwear, bedding, towels, curtains, fabric, and similar products, except for textiles that are contaminated with mold, bodily fluids, insects, oil, or hazardous substances. So, these recycling bins will be your go-to option.

Also new on the recycling front, is that we now have co-mingled plastic. No more worrying about which bin to toss that plastic bottle in! All types of plastic containers (except NO bags, cellophane wrapping or Styrofoam) can be tossed into one bin, with a different bin for rigid plastics. We also have separate containers for cardboard, mixed paper/junk mail, newspaper, glass, and metals. By sorting such recyclable materials, we are able to minimize disposal costs for the town and in some cases, even earn money back. And you can also drop off yard waste (grass & leaves only, loose or in paper bags, no brush) for composting, that the Highway Department then uses around town. 

The Transfer Station does accept non-commercial bulky waste and construction & demolition (C&D) debris at varying costs from residents with a sticker. No gypsum board, no floor or ceiling tiles, no shingles, no concrete, no asphalt and no bricks.  You are advised to call the Transfer Station at 508-636-9153 before you come to make sure the C&D/bulky dumpsters are not full.

The crew of Tim, Stephanie and John work hard to keep our operation clean and efficient, but we need your cooperation too.  Bag ALL your trash and DO NOT put trash in any of the recycling dumpsters! If a recycling bin is contaminated, it costs us time and money. Please rinse all plastics, glass, and cans to help us keep the area clean and bug free. Do not put banned materials in the trash either – the state periodically inspects incoming trash and ‘failed’ loads will result in a fine to the town.  The state waste ban includes any hazardous and recyclable materials. We have recycling options onsite for most of the banned items. However, due to the tight town budget we do not have funding to host a Household Hazardous Waste Day this year, so your best option is the facility in Sutton, MA. See the website for more information.

And finally, it is worth mentioning that the waste disposal and recycling industries are in a state of flux. There is limited capacity – throughout the state and region. While we try to keep ahead of the constantly changing dynamics and find new vendors and backup sources to accept Westport’s trash and recycled materials, it is time consuming and challenging to keep our costs as low as possible. Sometimes we may have to temporarily stop accepting a certain category of item. Please be patient, as this is not under our control. We send e-alerts and post notices on the website when disruptions occur.

The Westport Transfer Station is open five days per week from Thursday through Monday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.  Please note our upcoming holiday schedule – with the Station being closed on Monday, June 20th and Monday, July 5th.  Happy summer!

Ryden is chair of the Board of Health.

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