By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — The borough is taking new steps to curb residents from throwing out trash in recycle bins. They will do so with a change in the trash and recycling pickup policies and fees.
At a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses in August, Burgess Rocky Vitale spoke about how residents would put trash in recycling bins and ask for more barrels.
Public Works Director Jim Stewart said recently there has been an increase of recycling bin requests.
“We found a lot of people who were taking that second bin — and we were getting a lot of garbage and a lot of rejected recycled loads,” Stewart said during the August meeting.
Stewart said the borough began to run out of recycling bins and didn’t have them in stock and so it began to charge for the recycling bins; but residents would say they wanted a new bin because theirs was dirty or broken.
At its September meeting, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a revised trash and recycling pick up policy and schedule of fees. This includes going from $60 and a $150 yearly service fee to $70 and a $175 yearly service for an additional or replacement trash cart. The policy also goes from charging $60 for an additional or replacement recycling bin to now having them be free.
“We’re supposed to be encouraging recycling not charging people to recycle,” Vitale said.
The new policy also includes a three-tier penalty for violations. The first offense results in a written warning; a second offense results in a $50 service reinstatement fee; and a third offense produces a $100 service reinstatement fee.
“Whenever someone puts additional trash in the recycling carts, it creates problems and costs money so that’s the rationale for the violation policy; but Rocky did raise a good point that you should be encouraging recycling because anyone who recycles helps us,” Hess said.
Stewart said a 15% contamination amount in the recycling results in the borough getting charged an entire load as trash.
“What seems to be a big problem is that people put their recyclables in a plastic bag,” Stewart said.
Deputy Mayor Robert A. Neth said residents should be educated about recycling.
“We are attaching the dos and don’ts with the letters that we send them out,” Public Works Superintendent Sandra Lucas-Ribeiro said. “Some people may assume that Styrofoam/plastic foam packing peanuts are recyclable which they’re like the worst thing to throw in there. So we are sending out so they understand.”
Items that can be recycled include plastic bottles with and without caps, plastic cups with no lids or straws, plastic containers, cardboard, food and beverage cartons, pizza boxes, magazines, bottles, jars and cans.
Items that shouldn’t be recycled include plastic bags and wrap, plastic plates, prescription bottles, styrofoam/plastic foam, gift wrap, shredded and tissue paper, takeout food containers, paper cups, paint cans, ice cream containers and aerosol containers, according to the RecycleCT Foundation.
Residents can also drop off certain items at the transfer station at 34 Andrew Ave. Items that are accepted include a refrigerator, freezer or dehumidifier for $10; a sofa or couch for $15; bulk waste about the size of a pickup truck load for $25. Other things people may drop off to the transfer station at no charge are Christmas trees, leaves in paper bags, motor or cooking oils, transmission fluid and aerosol cans.
USA Hauling and Recycling, which services the borough, can fix trash and recycling bins with borough supplied parts as part of its contract, Stewart said.
Lucas-Ribeiro said borough officials would try to send out recycling notices in the tax bill.
“I’d like to see us educate all homeowners,” Burgess Charles P. Marenghi said.