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Solid Waste Committee presents work plan

BRATTLEBORO—After months of heated debate over recycling policies and a pay-as-you-throw trash system, the Solid Waste Committee presented its work plan last week to the Selectboard — a plan that includes education, enforcement, and new ordinances that its architects say will bring the town to full recycling compliance in 10 years.

“It’s a pretty aggressive plan,” Town Manager Barbara Sondag said.

She said the Selectboard approved the work plan over the summer with one change and requested the committee attend the board’s Sept. 7 meeting for a public hearing.

No one from the public attended the hearing despite the recent pay-as-you-throw controversy and vote. Selectboard member Martha O’Connor opened the hearing with a joke about inviting all the nonexistent “thousands of people in the parking lot” into the meeting.

Solid Waste Committee Co-chair Peter Cooper outlined the working plan’s seven components, which included hiring a recycling coordinator, providing more education and outreach, enforcing the town’s solid waste collection and disposal ordinance, developing new policy, solving composting issues, and creating evaluation tools for all of the above.

The plan also lists increasing the recycling rate in town from the current 18 percent. The targets are 25 percent within one year, 50 percent within five years and 100 percent within 10 years.

“How do you do that?” Selectboard Clerk Jesse Corum asked on behalf of an absent Moss Kahler via e-mail sent earlier to Corum.

According to Selectboard members, Kahler didn’t think the 100 percent rate is achievable.

Co-Chair Nancy Barber said the committee has realized a 100 percent recycling rate is a “pipe dream,” acknowledging that some people will never recycle.

Committee secretary Jane Southworth clarified, saying rather than referring to the recycling rate, the committee plans to set quantifiable goals — for example, she said, 100 percent participation of all residents participating in curbside pickup.

Selectboard member Dora Bouboulis said she had wanted the committee to host public meetings where the public could create the working plan. “There has been active participation on this issue for months. And not just on pay-as-you-throw. I hope the Solid Waste Committee has been keeping track of all that,” she said.

“This [plan] is also a work in progress. We realize there’s some gaps,” Barber said.

Barber invited the public to attend the committee’s meetings held the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. in the Municipal Center.

Anyone with questions about what can be recycled should visit brattleborosolidwaste.wordpress.com or call 802-251-8103.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #67 (Wednesday, September 15, 2010).

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