Freeport recycling committee contemplates pay-per-bag trash disposal

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FREEPORT — The Recycling and Solid Waste Committee finalized a report last week that identifies ways to reduce residential solid waste and increase recycling while allowing residents to have their choice of waste haulers.

The committee’s report recommends adding one more silver bullet recycling bin and instituting a pay-per-bag trash disposal system. It will present its proposal to the Town Council in a public workshop on June 21.

The pay-per-bag system cannot be implemented until a provision prohibiting user fees or other new taxes for waste disposal – and specifically pay-per-bag programs – is removed from the Town Charter.

The committee has been working on the proposal since last September, after the Town Council requested it investigate options for reducing solid waste disposal costs. 

The report includes six options that were developed and evaluated over the past eight months, compares the experiences of several other municipalities that have instituted pay-per-bag programs and outlines the history of Freeport’s municipal solid waste program.

One recommendation would would add a fourth silver bullet. The existing recycling containers are behind the police station, across from the South Freeport Church and at the North Freeport General Store. The additional container would be placed on the west side of Interstate 295 and serve about 400 households, or 12 percent of the population.

Town Engineer Al Presgraves said the specific location of the additional silver bullet has not yet been determined, but it would be somewhere near Desert Road and Exit 20 of I-295.

The proposed basic pay-per-bag system would require all residents to purchase garbage bags for their household waste. The committee estimates the total solid waste volume will be reduced and the amount of recycling will increase.

Bags are estimated to cost about $1.25, and would shift the cost of waste disposal from the municipal budget to individual households. All residents would see a reduction in property taxes, and savings would be greater for those who recycle more and generate less waste.

If the proposal is supported by the Town Council, voters would also have to amend the Town Charter.

The public workshop will be Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.