Automated collection sought


BEACON FALLS — Officials are in discussions to bring automated trash collection to Beacon Falls.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said he has been in talks with the Danbury-based Winters Brothers Waste Systems, which is the current trash collection company in Beacon Falls, about switching to automated collection.

Currently, trash is collected with a truck that has a driver and operator. The operator needs to dump the trash into the truck by hand. With automated collection, a mechanical arm on the truck lifts a trash barrel and dumps the contents into the truck. This only requires the driver.

Bielik said the town’s recycling is currently collected by the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, a quasi-public agency that provides single-stream recycling and trash disposal for Connecticut cities and towns.

Bielik said the town is contracted with the authority through 2017. However, he said, Winter Brothers is currently looking into the contract to see if there is a way for it to take over the recycling collection, as well.

Bielik said the intent is to have Winters Brothers implement automated trash and recycling pick-up throughout the town with little or no cost to the residents.

Bielik said the talks with Winter Brothers have included the company providing the barrels and other capital costs, such as the trucks, at no upfront cost to the town. Instead, the town’s contract with Winter Brothers would be extended and the cost would be built into it.

Currently residents have small green and blue recycling bins and have to purchase their own trash cans. If the deal goes through as intended, residents would be provided with two 96-gallon containers, one for trash and one for recycling, Bielik said.

The 2015-16 budget includes $260,000 for refuse collection, Bielik said. This does not include recycling collection.

Bielik said Winter Brothers was unable to make the numbers work in its favor to switch to automated collection in Beacon Falls even with an extended contract. It was suggested the town work with Ansonia, which is a also client of Winter Brothers, to broaden the implementation of automated collection.

According to Bielik, if the two towns switched to automated trash collection together, Winter Brothers may be able to bring the automated trash and recycling collection to both towns with an extended contract and no upfront cost.

Bielik said he met with Mayor David Cassetti at the beginning of the month to discuss working together. Cassetti approved of the idea, Bielik said.

Cassetti could not be reached for comment.

Bielik said Winter Brothers is still collecting data to see if the implementation across the two towns is something that makes financial sense for all parties involved.

Area towns, such as Naugatuck and Seymour, have already switched to the automated collections. Bielik said in the first year of its automated recycling collection Seymour saw a monthly increase of 40 percent in the recycling rebate it collects.

The Board of Selectmen expects to have more information from Winter Brothers by its June 8 meeting.