pedal people news march 2011 (action alert!)

(originally sent March 1, 2011)


* Solid Waste Task Force (and the future of Pedal People)


The City of Northampton is considering major changes to the city's
trash system.  The Solid Waste Task Force
( that has been reviewing the
options is hosting two public forums:

* Monday, March 7th, 7pm:  JFK Middle School Community Room
* Friday, March 11, 2pm: Northampton Senior Center

Two primary options (with a few variations) are being considered once
the city's landfill closes in mid-2012.

The first option is to keep the current system, where residents can
bring their waste to one of two transfer centers, or hire a private
hauler such as Pedal People or a trucking company to haul it.  Fees at
the transfer center would go up to reflect the increased costs to haul
the waste after the landfill closes.  The fees that trucking companies
and Pedal People charge would likely also go up.

The second is to institute municipal curbside pickup and close the
transfer centers (although one possibility is to keep the Glendale Rd
transfer center open for bulky waste only).  Residents would pay
approximately $200/year to get curbside pickup.  This is less than
most people who currently use a private hauler pay; however, it is
more than it costs most residents who use the transfer centers.  Any
resident could opt-out and hire a private hauler.  The city would like
to include Pedal People in this system, potentially contracting with
us to pick up certain neighborhoods and consolidate the refuse in
neighborhood drop point, but it's not yet certain if this is feasible.
 If not, Pedal People might have more difficulty finding a place to
bring trash & recycling, and we could lose the majority of our

Municipal curbside pickup could have efficiency and environmental
advantages, if enough people participate.  Adding human-powered
consolidation of a neighborhood's trash would reduce pollution, road
damage and noise, while creating green jobs, calming traffic and
reducing waste through our direct connection with customers and their

That said, Pedal People does have concerns about the details of how a
municipal curbside system would be implemented and is advocating for
the following:

* We  believe that a municipal plan should have a very low-volume
option which encourages waste reduction and increases affordability.
Otherwise people who make little trash might have to pay for more
trash pickup than they need, in effect subsidizing people who make
more trash.  

* We believe that a municipal plan should include organics (compost)

* We believe that a municipal plan should help divert reusable and
salvageable items (such as clothing, books, household goods, and scrap
metal) from the waste stream.

Please consider attending one of the Public Forums to encourage the
task force to include human-powered hauling if they choose municipal
curbside pickup.  Northampton could serve as a model for more
environmentally-friendly waste disposal that cities around the country
could emulate.

Read our letter to the Solid Waste Task Force:

To e-mail all members of the task force, you can write this address
and it will be automatically forwarded:

swtf AT pedalpeople DOT com

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