ins pg 1 2-1-24

Ins & outs
- so far -
of trash
By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — All about waste — Q&A
What Happened at the First Info Meeting?
In the first public meeting about the upcoming redo of the town’s waste/recycling programs, the details, questions and answers were wide ranging.
Jan. 25 Elaine Sistare, town administrator, speaking to about 60 people, said the current sticker system will go away and be replaced July 1 with a residential user fee-based program with Casella Waste.
Before May 1 residents can:
1) Do nothing, which will mean they will be getting a 95-gallon trash bin and a 95-gallon recycle bin. (cost $395 per year)
2)  Opt out of the 95-gallon trash can for a 65-gallon trash bin and the 95-gallon recycle bin (cost: $350 per year)
3)  Opt out of the program and find their own private trash company. You need to opt out if you already have your own private trash hauler.
You must receive both trash and recycle bins.
Mayor Barney Seney said, “You’re either in or you’re out.”
How is Payment Handled?
The bill will be included in the tax bill with half the payment due in July and the other half in January.
Bins will be delivered in May. Residential only households — one-family, two-family and three-family — are eligible, Sistare said. The owner of a two-family home will receive four bins (two trash and two recycling) and be billed $395 times two); three-family times 3.
Four-family and larger, condos and businesses, even small ones, are not eligible for the program and must get their own trash service.
Trash will be collected, using an auto side load arm, once a week. Recycling will be collected every other week, Sistare said.
Sistare said eligible residents should receive in the mail this week, a green flyer with details and options. It includes a QR scan code that will take residents to the town’s website to opt in or out, or go with the smaller trash bin and to get more information.
The town’s website on the program is: and will be updated frequently as more information is available.
Marc Morgan, representing Casella, estimated that by March the company will know how many days per week they will be collecting. The use of automated equipment will speed the schedule. Currently they collect five days a week. Seney estimated that number might drop to three days per week.
Sistare said the town will stop selling stickers to vendors June 1. In May and June, for the transition, residents are asked to put stickers on their trash bags in the new bins. Come July 1, no more stickers, just the new program.
Division of Labor?
The town will be in charge of the data base and payment collection. Casella will be in charge of service concerns.
To that end, Morgan said the company has an app that will tell you when the next collection day is (trash and recycling). He said the app allows for setting notifications (i.e. “a text the day before reminding you to put your trash out.”). The app can also notify of holiday or weather-related changes to pick up — “if there’s trees down or a bridge out, etc.” And the app is easily updated. That’s a company resource that will be gearing up. He said it is already in use in Mansfield.
Bin 'Rules'
Yes, Casella would prefer that you put your trash in bags and then in the bins. “If it’s windy, loose trash will just blow around,” Morgan said.
— The front of the bin should face the road. The trash bin and the recycle bin should be at least 3 feet apart. Morgan said many people put a bin on each side of their driveways.
Do: Put bins on a hard level surface clear of obstructions, such as snow, landscaping, mailboxes and utility poles. Don’t: Put the bins back to back and don’t block the sidewalk.
What About Bulky Waste?
Bulky waste had been handled with stickers for decades. You put a sticker on a bed frame and put it out for collection, said Highway Superintendent Travis Sirrine.
That is changing to Bulky Waste Collection Days. Sirrine said bulky waste can be brought to the collection site at the Putnam Middle School on May 18, Aug. 17 and Oct. 26. No charge — you just need to show residency. He said the town is looking into a transfer station that would take all waste except household garbage, but that’s sometime, perhaps, in the future. He said he has advised folks with some types of waste (he gave the example of chunks of drywall) to call the towns of Brooklyn, Killingly or Woodstock to inquire about using their transfer station. Ask if a temporary permit is possible.
Leaf/Brush/Limb Changes?
No changes. Leaves are vacuumed starting the end of October. Brush and tree limbs less than 6 inches in diameter are chipped curbside twice a year.  
Special Items Changes?
The Highway Garage on Fox Road will continue to accept tires, mattresses, metal, electronics and white goods.
Hazardous Waste Changes?
The town will continue to hold hazardous waste collections every other year. They are not done every year because, Sirrine said, the town is charged $25,000 to $30,000 by the company that handles it. The first couple collections pulled in a lot of hazardous waste but subsequent collections have quieted down on the volume, so every other year works.
Opt for Program only Certain Months of the Year?
No. The program is set to be billed in six-month cycles.
Why the Change?
No choice. Seney said the closing of the Hartford incinerator changed the disposal landscape and resulted in significant cost hikes. The town has been working on this for a year. The town’s bill from Casella last year was about $900,000. About $350,000 came in through sticker sales, leaving a $550,000 balance that was paid with tax dollars. And a 60 percent hike was on tap. Plus, he added, worker’s comp costs necessitated moving from a live “trash guy” to the auto side load arm. Sistare said many towns in Connecticut are in the same boat. Those who were using the Hartford incinerator are in the most trouble as the remaining incinerators were already maxed out. It’s a statewide problem.
More Info
In addition to information on the town’s website (which will be updated as more info is available), you can email questions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Also, there are more informational meetings coming at the Municipal Complex, Room 109: Feb 5 at 6 p.m.; Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m.; March 2 at 11 a.m.; April 9 at 6:30 p.m.; and July 15 at 6 p.m. Casella will also have a booth at the Fire and Ice Festival Feb. 10.
If you opt out and do not find appropriate waste disposal management, you may be fined. Any non-compliance of waste disposal may incur $100 daily fines under the town’s Blight Ordinance, the cost of proper removal by town forces if necessary and other fines and fees associated with public health.

Sample of New Bins
from left: 65-gallon trash bin (you must go to website above and opt for this smaller trash bin); the 95-gallon trash bin and the 95-gallon recycle (blue lid) which you will get if you don’t opt for 65-gallon trash bin or opt out of the program.  You will get a trash bin and a recycle bin around May 1. Linda Lemmon photo.


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