Watertown residents will be limited to one 64-gallon trash bin full of trash each week, and will also receive a 64-gallon recycling bin for recycling, which will be picked up every other week. All recyclable items — cardboard, paper, plastic and metal cans — will go into the same bin.
The Town Council approved the new trash contract with Allied Waste, the same company used by the town. The change in service will not be immediate, said Town Manager Michael Driscoll.
"The schedule to move to the new system will be like six months," Driscoll said.
In the meantime, Allied Waste will run an education program to let residents know about the new system, said Bruce Stanas, the company's regional vice president. He plans to run a pilot program with several households in town to see how the new trash bins — which have a flip top, a handle an wheels — work.
The one-month pilot will include seniors, families with two children and families with more than two children, Stanas said, and then they will be interviewed for a video that will be shown on Watertown Cable.
"Rather than hear from us, people will hear from people in the community," Stanas said.
The Town Council debated whether to have recycling pick-up weekly or every two weeks. Having recycling collected every other week would save the town $249,000, said Town Auditor Tom Tracy.
Some towns have bigger, 95-gallon recycling bins, Stanas said. The Town Council decided to go with 64-gallon toters, instead.
Residents who have more trash each week than will fit into the toter can buy another one for $152, Stanas said. Also, those wanting a larger recycling bin can request one, but Town Council President Mark Sideris said they should see how it works, first.
The main reason for the switch is to save the town money by encouraging recycling to reduce the amount of trash hauled off. Stanas said that towns switching from unlimited trash disposal (like Watertown) that move to the system with one barrel of trash and another barrel for recycling, cut trash disposal greatly.
"I would expect a reduction of 25 percent," Stanis said.
Based on that, Driscoll said, Watertown would save $217,000 a year under the current tipping fee rate.