Photo: The town’s recycling policy is changing in a major way next week.
The days of throwing everything – empty cans of tuna, the Sunday New York Times newspaper, the plastic container your earphones came in, and empty craft beer bottles – into the blue or green recycling containers and having it taken away every two weeks are over.
Starting next week, there will be a right way and a wrong way to recycle in Belmont as F W Russell Sons Disposal – the town’s trash contractor – will only collect curbside recycling if it’s correctly sorted into a “dual stream.”
A dual-stream system requires paper and cardboard separated from containers such as plastic bottles and containers, glass and metal cans. Paper, cardboard and containers are banned from landfills and waste-to-facilities in Massachusetts and need to be recycled.
If not separated, the recycling will not be picked up, and scofflaws will need to drag the boxes back to the house.
(Information on how to successfully negotiate the new policy can be found on the Town’s website under the Department of Public Works Highway Division.)
So why the big change from those who already recycle?
According to Belmont’s Recycling Coordinator, Mary Beth Calnan, Somerville-based Russell was told recently by the regional collection facility its contract calls for Belmont’s recycling to be a dual stream.
Calnan said the town’s curbside recycling program began in July 1991 as a dual stream system. For some reason, the first recycling hauler, Laidlaw, didn’t enforce the system and the tradition of throwing all recycling material into the same container became the norm.
When asked how Belmont residents will react to the new rules, Calnan said residents want to do the right thing and the office has received many calls and emails about the flyers that went out in the light bills and on the Town’s web page.
“Most residents want to purchase another bin or have recycling stickers mailed to them so they can put out their recycling correctly,” she said.
“If a resident is confused or needs guidance they should contact me and I will gladly help them,” she said. Reach Calnan at 617-993-2789 or firstname.lastname@example.org