Marion takes queries on trash transition

Aug 14, 2019

MARION — As Marion prepares to move to automated trash pickup, residents with trash questions and concerns gathered at the Marion Music Hall on Aug. 14 so Town Administrator Jay McGrail and industry representatives could provide answers.

Marion voted at May’s Town Meeting and election to outsource trash pickup to a private company. McGrail selected Waste Management, and had originally planned for the transition to start in August, but he explained that “our trash truck broke down the second week of July.”

Waste Management started Marion trash pickup using older rear-loading trucks and assistants on the back with four days notice.

“This is a complicated transition,” McGrail said.

That’s in part because handling waste in Marion actually means handling three different elements: collection, disposal and the transfer station

McGrail said that moving to automated trash pickup for collection will lead to a cleaner product, safer environment for workers and increased efficiency.

Disposal may be the easiest part financially, because Marion is part of the Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District, which negotiated a deal thirty years ago that allows Marion to dispose of its trash for free.

The district also runs the Benson Brook transfer station, which McGrail called “another extremely complicated situation.” The district is looking at whether it will keep the transfer station open, and as a result Marion is looking at running Benson Brook Transfer Station in house.

The district also would increase the sticker fee, which is currently at $10. The amount of that increase is still unknown.

McGrail also called recycling “a complex market.” He was able to bring the recycling price down from $125 a ton to $90 a ton for recyclables, though he cautioned that “that could change if you don’t keep recycling clean.”

Attendees later learned that if things like plastic bags go into the recycling employees have to go in and cut them out. 

Mailers will go out to residents soon with details about the trash and recycling schedule. Delivery of the new receptacles required for automatic trash pickup will start on the week of Aug. 26. Waste Management will start automated pickup on Sept. 3.

McGrail said that the transfer station is willing to take old receptacles at Benson Brook for residents with a sticker.

Every resident is entitled to a trash and recycling barrel, and pickup as part of their taxes. However, residents with more than 65 gallons of trash and 95 gallons of recycling can buy extra receptacles for $100 with $160 in sticker fee

Residents were warned not to go near the mechanical arm that picks up and dumps the trash bins, and to keep children away as well. They were also told that they may see the truck go by twice in a given day, since the arm only picks up on one side of the street at a time.

One resident at the meeting asked what would happen to homeowners who live on Route 6 if their trash bin gets damaged.

“If it’s an accident we would help you out,” McGrail responded. 

Another resident asked if the receptacles are designed to keep critters out.

Lou Russell with Cascade Cart Solution said they are designed to keep animals out, but there are some critters that can chew through them.

One older resident asked about managing larger bins on a long driveway with an upward incline, and wanted to know how much bins weigh.

Russell said the cart was about 30 pounds, and usually full of about 40 to 45 pounds of waste, though he added that moving them is “not as difficult as you would think.”

McGrail also said that he might be able to work something out with the couple.

A Village resident wanted to know how to put out trash on streets with legal parking on both sides.

McGrail said to just start, and he and Waste Management will have to monitor the situation. “These are the things we’ll have to work out,” he said.