Is Milton the canary in the recycling line?
The cost of Milton’s contracts to pick up and dispose of trash, recycling materials, and yard waste this year went up almost $820,000, or about 32 percent.
At a special town meeting on Monday night, the community cobbled together enough money from a variety of sources to cover the higher tab, but many are wondering whether the higher disposal costs are becoming the new normal.
Recycling costs started rising last year when China stopped accepting contaminated materials for processing. That action flooded the recycling market, sending prices for a wide variety of recyclables plummeting. Now companies that pick up recycled materials are charging their customers per-ton fees instead of picking up the materials for free. As a result, pickup costs are soaring.
Stephen Lisauskas, a vice president at WasteZero, a company that advises communities on recycling issues, said Milton is not alone. Many municipalities, he says, have been seeing their recycling costs go up. He says part of the problem is the shift to single-stream recycling, where homeowners throw all of their recycled materials in one container. That approach has made recycling easier for homeowners, but resulted in more contamination, which reduces the value of the recycled materials.
Milton put its trash and recycling contracts out to bid this summer and the bids that came back stunned town officials. According to the community’s town warrant, the recycling contract jumped 36 percent, rising from $870,000 to nearly $1.2 million. Trash pickup and disposal costs jumped an equal amount, rising from $950,000 to $1.3 million. Yard waste pickup costs increased from $858,128 to just over $1 million.
It’s unclear why trash disposal costs in Milton went up so much, but it appears the town made a number of changes to the way trash is picked up that resulted in higher charges.
Trying to nudge the House and Senate toward agreement on a budget closing out a fiscal year that ended five months ago. Gov. Charlie Baker describes an extra $50 million in MBTA funding as something “you would absolutely positively need to have.” (CommonWealth)
Rep. Alice Peisch, House chair of the Education Committee, says the new $1.5 billion funding legislation will promote equity of resources among school districts along with accountability for results. (CommonWealth)
The Senate’s Republican leader, Bruce Tarr, balks at holding a special election for a GOP seat on the same day in March as the presidential primary. Presumably, he’s worried Democrat turnout will be strong. (State House News)
Boston’s scandal-plagued Zoning Board of Appeal uses an ordinance that hasn’t had a comprehensive update since the 1960s and the board approves the vast majority of variance requests that go before it. (WGBH)
Boston City Council president Andrea Campbell is pushing ahead with a plan calling for a new position of city inspector general despite opposition from the Walsh administration. (Boston Herald)
The town of Barnstable has won the first round in a lawsuit filed against it by two dozen Centerville property owners. At stake is the town’s ability to purchase the property for $544,000 in an eminent domain taking for its planned $1.06 billion, 30-year sewer project. (Cape Cod Times)
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A new report from Boston College shows that Social Security, once seen as a model of progressive policy helping to lift up those on the bottom economic rungs, now tilts heavily toward higher-earners who collect way more by delaying the age at which they start to draw benefits. (Boston Globe)
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A device called an Imaging FlowCytobot can help the aquaculture industry detect and prevent harmful algae blooms. (WGBH)
Rhode Island officials unveiled plans for a 7,500-seat soccer stadium and hotel in Pawtucket, which is losing its Red Sox-affiliated minor league baseball team to Worcester. (Boston Globe)
A controversial proposal for a 465-unit housing development on the site of the now-closed Quincy Medical Center will be back before the city’s planning board Wednesday and could come up for a vote. (Patriot Ledger)
The Harvard Graduate Student Union plans to go on strike this morning, meaning they won’t work on grading, grant applications, and more. (WBUR)
Newly obtained documents show that Richard Sackler, of the billionaire family that owns OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, made moves early on in the opioid crisis to push back against claims of the product’s danger. (STAT)
As Brockton’s Health Department comes under scrutiny for its failure to inspect thousands of apartments that have fallen out of compliance with city ordinances, Mayor Moises Rodrigues and his successor Robert Sullivan have promised to implement tech changes to modernize the agency. (The Enterprise)
The Lowell Regional Transit Authority launched a pilot this summer to begin offering service on Sunday, and as ridership has grown from 400 to 700, the LRTA has asked MassDOT for more money to extend the program. (Lowell Sun)
The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District is wrapping up a study of Route 6 which spans from Route 240 in Fairhaven east to High Street in Wareham. Two public meetings are planned for next week. (Standard-Times)
A Globe editorial decries the state’s continued reliance on solitary confinement — or restrictions close to it — in state prisons.
Jeffrey Jacques, a 53-year-old from Gloucester, was charged with a fifth drunk driving offense after giving a patrolman the finger and leading him on a high-speed chase. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Veteran Boston Herald editor Joe Sciacca tweets that after 37 years he’s leaving the paper — which has faced steep cuts under corporate owner Digital First Media — to become enterprise editor at Channel 7.To sidestep an FCC rule barring the same company from owning a TV station and a daily newspaper in the same market, private equity firm Apollo Global Management is turning the Dayton Daily News into a three-day-a-week newspaper. (Nieman Journalism Lab)