I met with Doug Halley today to discuss where we go from here with getting information from private haulers in Acton about their tonnages of trash and recycling. We reviewed the events of the Board of Health meeting where this topic was discussed (Monday, October 27, 2014). A majority of board members would prefer to start with seeing if the haulers will comply voluntarily, before adding any new regulations. At that Board meeting I explained that Green Acton tried calling up haulers to get this information, with no positive results. Some Board members thought that an official request from the Health Department would have different results. So, here’s the new plan:
- By December 15: Doug will send letters to the haulers, requesting that they prepare tonnage data from January 2015 – March 2015, and report it to the Department 15 days after the end of each month, along with information on how many Acton households and businesses were served. This will be written to request essentially the same data as the proposed regulations would require.
- At the end of each month in the first quarter of 2015, haulers will receive letters with reminders of this request
- Last week of April: At the April Board of Health meeting, the response rate will be reviewed. Doug predicts the response will be low. If that’s true, then he will propose hearings for May on mandatory reporting of tonnages of trash and recycling by private haulers as a condition of their permits.
- May: Public hearing on regulations
- June: Vote on regulations.
- July – December. Assuming regulations pass, Board of Health prepares for implementation by educating haulers and creating in-house tracking system.
- January 2016: All private haulers are up for re-permitting, and requirements for reporting start.
- February 2016: First reports come in. Board of Health follows up with any non-compliant haulers. Ultimate stick is non-renewal of permit, but Doug expects most haulers at most will need a letter or phone call to remind them.
- February 2016: Town can start reporting private hauler data along with transfer station data in their reports to the state.
- 2017: With a year’s worth of data in hand, and available as a public record, we can start discussing further policy options.
If the haulers are surprisingly compliant with the original request, Doug will simply continue to ask them to report, for at least a year, and we will use that data for policy discussions.
If the regulations pass, and reporting continues, this will be useful as public information to guide consumers to haulers that have the best recycling record, for residents that care about this.