To the editor:
Despite this year’s unprecedented challenges, Sheffield residents using the Sheffield Transfer Station and residents and businesses using private haulers have continued their impressive commitments to recycling.
This is more important than ever as we contended with what to do with items previously returned for deposits, like beer cans and soda bottles, grocery stores not accepting their plastic bags for recycling, and used textiles/clothing and a host of other items that previously found homes at Goodwill, other stores or tag sales.
The Sheffield Transfer Station’s Swap Shop will reopen as soon as we have the OK to do so. I’ve heard some residents say they’re cleaning and boxing items for that day, rather than throwing items them away, or saving them for Goodwill and other reuse shops. I’m doing the same thing. I encourage everyone to keep up our collective commitment to recycling and reuse. By doing so you make money for the Town and others, support jobs, reduce our solid waste and costs and choose good environmental options.
The Town has been working on several new programs for the Transfer Station, all of which the Town hopes to implement this summer:
- A Bulky Waste bin will be available every day the Transfer Station is open, as well as having an on-site mattress recycling bin, available the 1st Sunday of each month. No more having to hold onto these items until May or November. Special Transfer Station coupons for either of these uses will be part of your annual FY21 Transfer Station sticker fee.
- Sheffield’s Recycling and Solid Waste webpage has been updated to provide more information on where to recycle or take materials for reuse when the Transfer Station can’t provide these options. This information will help find homes for useful building materials, furniture, extra gallons of unopened paint and other items in good condition.
- A textile recovery & reuse program, possibly to include a collection box at the Transfer Station. At a minimum, there will be site information on such boxes around Sheffield and South County. The EPA estimates the average American discards 80 pounds of textiles every year. Whether this estimate is right for Sheffield or not, if these materials can be taken out of the garbage bin and recovered/reused, we can reduce the frequency and cost of trash hauling. Textiles are also one of the items MassDEP is considering banning from the waste stream in 2021, so Sheffield is working to get ahead of this.
- If approved at the 5/29 Annual Town Meeting, a Bulky Rigid Plastic container will be installed for those plastic items that can’t currently be recycled at the Transfer Station, such as plastic hangers, flowerpots, large shelving units, turtle pools and more. Residents will be able to recycle these items and keep them out of the trash compactor. A MassDEP grant is being sought for assistance with this project.
Lastly, the Town is now offering 15 compost bins at a subsidized price of $10 to assist any Sheffield household in composting food scraps, garden cuttings, lawn clippings, leaves, etc. First come, first served, until they are gone. The Town will do this program again if there is the demand. While we had hoped to announce this for Earth Day, COVID-19 got in the way. Visit the Town’s Recycling and Solid Waste webpage or News for full details on this program funded by a MassDEP Municipal Recycling Grant. Thank you Sheffield!
The writer is Town of Sheffield Recycling Coordinator.