pedal people news winter 2021

(originally sent January 13, 2021)


Greetings from the Pedal People Press! This is our simple, informative
newsletter to support our collective path to sustainability. 
In this issue: 
* Important: Necessary Price Increases Due to the Rising Costs of
Recycling and Trash
* Recycling Good News
* Helpful Recycling Info Link 
* Holiday Tree Disposal


Please be advised that we are raising our rates.   
These price increases take into account our increased costs at the two
transfer stations we bike your trash to. The city increased the costs
of vehicle permits for the Locust St transfer station, more than
tripling our general use charges (by 317%), as of January 1, 2021.
Valley Recycling started charging us for recyclable cans and bottles
last year, in addition to increases in trash costs. 
The transfer station changes are based on larger disruptions in the
recycling markets. In short, since China stopped accepting the poor
quality materials most of the world was sending it for the last two
decades, the global recycling infrastructures have been in disarray.
This finally reached our part of the world this year, when the
recycling contract with the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility
(where our regional recycling goes) was renegotiated. The new contract
changed recycling from something that made a little revenue for cities
to a major expense. For example, instead of making around $20/ton for
recyclables, cities now pay a $90/ton base fee, and sometimes get a
small refund for the materials, depending on market rates. This has
made recycling more expensive per ton than trash in most places (the
expense of which also continues to increase as landfills close). Since
the state requires many things to be diverted from the trash (a good
thing!), but has not provided cities with funding to take into account
these recent issues, the costs are passed on to households. The Valley
Advocate had a good article on this earlier last year:

Here are the new rates and limits:

The price changes will not go into effect until your next bill.
However, the changes to the recycling limits go into effect
immediately. We are struggling to handle increased amounts during the
pandemic since so many people have been working from home. The
previous extra charges and limits were not covering these increased
costs. Consider changing from biweekly to weekly pickups if you
produce a lot of recycling.
Thank you for your understanding, and let us know if you have any

Now for two items of good recycling news from the last few months:
Pizza boxes are now recyclable!  They should be broken down and placed
with your cardboard (or paper recycling for small boxes).  Please
remove any remaining food or wax paper, both of which can go in your
Crystal clear plastic cups are also now recyclable!  Please remove any
lids, straws, or anything else in the cups.  All other forms of
non-clear plastic cups, paper cups, lids, or straws of any kind, are
not recyclable, and should go in your trash.  This is the case in all
of Western Mass, regardless of if the other items have recycling
symbols on them.

In addition to our recycling information sheet, below is a quick
online search tool if you have any questions about whether an item is
recyclable. We encourage you to refrain as best you can from
"wishcycling" even though it comes from good intentions.  If we can
keep more non-recyclable materials out of recycling, workers will have
to spend less time picking those items out, and the cost for recycling
as a whole can be lower. You are always welcome to contact us with
your recycling questions!


We can take broken holiday lights as scrap metal recycling! Small
quantities of scrap metal can be placed next to your bins for pickup
and shouldn’t be mixed with containers recycling. Please let us know
beforehand if you have larger metal items.
One of the most common winter issues is compost getting stuck to the
bottom of buckets in freezing weather, preventing us from taking that
last bit away.  Here are a few suggestions:

* After cleaning out your bucket and letting it dry, line your bucket
with a paper bag or newspaper.  This helps prevent food waste from
freezing to the bucket, and will make your cleanup easier in general. 
You may want to do this even if you are using BPI-certified
compostable bags, which can still freeze to edges.
* Try to reduce the water content of your compost.  Completely drain
things like coffee grounds before adding them to your bucket.
* Keep your bucket in a space above freezing before pickup day. 
Leaving your bucket outside all the time this time of year creates a
solid and unremovable compost chunk. 


We continue to offer holiday tree hauling service! Our current rates
are: $15 for a small tree (approx. 4 feet or less), $20 for a medium
tree (4 to 6 feet), or $25 for a large tree (6 feet or more).

Alternatively, there is a local farm where you may drop off your tree
for goats to consume, at 326 West Pomeroy Lane in Amherst. Here is a
link to a recent article and the information:

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