When Watertown's new trash and recycling program begins on Aug. 6, residents will have to fit all their trash in the 64-gallon toter, and they will get a recycling toter of the same size. Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee said those will be enough for Watertown families.
Mee said he has received many calls from people worried they won't be able to fit all their trash in the toter. One such resident, Charles Benson of Partridge Street, said he thinks there will be 10 to 15 times a year he will go over the 64-gallon limit.
"I like the idea of the new trash/recycling program, but it is an 80 percent solution," Benson said at Tuesday's Town Council meeting. "It does not address likley overages. I feel constrained. I am concerned I will have to store garbage until the next collection."
Looking at what people throw out each week, Mee said he has observed that most households do not throw away a large amount most of the time.
"The majority of residents of the town throw away about one bag of trash," Mee said. "That not a huge amount of trash. The 64-gallon toters fit three (big) green trash bags or eight small kitchen-size bags."
Recycling a Key
The key, Mee said, is to recycle as much as possible. , and all different kinds of recycling can be placed in the same toter, Mee said.
"Sixty-four gallons is a good amount (of trash) if a household is recycling properly," Mee said.
One of the main goals of the new program, Mee said, is to cut down the amount paid by the town for solid waste disposal by increasing the amount of recycling.
Each legal address will received the two toters, Mee said, so a two-family home will received two sets of toters, for instance.
Some of the Town Councilors shared Benson's concern. Town Council Vice President Steve Corbett said all households are not alike.
"There is a big difference between a household of eight compared to a household of one," Corbett said, adding that he would like to see an option of people being able to drop off garbage at the town's recycling center if they have too much.
If the garbage will not fit after all the recycling is taken out, Mee said, he said that people could ask if neighbors have room in their toters.
Town Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she has heard from people who are older and worry about pulling the toters to the curb, especially if they have to go up stairs.
Though the toters are big, Mee said they are well balanced and can easily be wheeled. He added that he and his department will try to solve any problems that come up.
As for people's old trash barrels, Mee suggested that people use them for yard waste, and that way they won't have to use paper bags. Otherwise, residents can bring the old barrels to the Public Works at 124 Orchard Street and the DPW will dispose of them.
Once the program gets rolling, Mee said he is confident it will work.
"The program works in a lot of communities. It is based on a program started 20 years ago in California," Mee said. "We are not reinventing the wheel."