To save money, eliminate excess waste and increase recycling, the town of North Reading is reducing the trash barrel limit from four barrels to three starting July 1, 2013. The selectmen voted unanimously on the reduction this past Monday night.
Until July 1, residents are still allowed to put out four 30-gallon barrels each week. However, after July 1, residents will only be able to put out three 30-gallon barrels for pick up. The annual fee for that will remain $226.
According to member of the Recycling Committee Ed McGrath, 90 percent of the 4,295 homes in North Reading that use the municipal trash service are putting out two barrels or less anyway. Eight percent put out three barrels and about two percent are putting out four barrels, he said.
The Recycling Committee would prefer to reduce the limit to two barrels in July, but most of the selectmen were in favor of phasing in the reduction.
Selectman Joe Foti thought that reducing the limit to two barrels was simply too much for one year.
"It's very difficult to cut it in half in one year," Foti said.
Selectman Bob Mauceri said that he would like to see something in the policy that covers people who have more than two barrels. McGrath said that residents can call the DPW if they have extra trash and let them know. The DPW will make an exception once in a while, but not every week. For example, if a resident has a party once or twice a year and therefore extra trash, the DPW will pick up the extra trash. The DPW is also aware that Christmas and other holidays produce extra trash.
McGrath also noted that there is a scrap metal bin at the DPW for residents to use if necessary and other alternatives to throwing items in the trash.
The board voted to reduce the barrel limit on July 1, 2013 to three barrels and then to two barrels on July 1, 2014.