A public forum on Amherst’s refuse situation will be held at 7pm on Wednesday, October 19 at Amherst Media (formerly known as ACTV), 246 College Street. Recent changes in the regional solid waste landscape have prompted Amherst’s Recycling and Refuse Management Committee to take a close look at how trash might be handled in Amherst in the near future. The forum will provide an overview of the current trash and recycling structure, the challenges it faces and a review of identified options. A question and answer period will follow the short presentations. Amherst residents are encouraged to contribute their ideas about what they would like the solid waste and recycling scenario to look like in 2016.
Amherst’s solid waste situation has changed dramatically over the last ten years. While Solid Waste services have operated out of an (non-tax generated) enterprise fund for some time, income sources have evolved from landfill tipping fees and state grants to transfer station sticker and disposal fees. Expenses too, have changed as we engage in long term environmental monitoring of our two capped landfills. To complicate things further, the two regional landfills to which municipal and transfer station trash are now taken are expected to close within the next 1-4 years.
Current Board of Health regulations require town residents to hire a private licensed waste hauler to pick up trash and recycling. There is an alternate “variance” option for those who produce small quantities of waste and are able to bring it directly to the transfer station. Dwindling enterprise funds put the services provided to transfer station users at risk of ending. This forum will begin discussion about potential changes to the existing system.