From: Michael S. Batcher
Subject: June 25, 2015 SWIP Planning Meeting Minutes
Date: July 2, 2015
Town Representatives: Keith Squires (Arlington), Megan Randall (Pownal), Sandy Gaszek (Searsburg), Mitch Race (Shaftsbury), Nancy Bushika (Stamford), Steve Bendix (Sunderland), Betty Charette and Mike Charette (Woodford)
Not in Attendance: Stu Hurd (Bennington), Rob Gaiotti (Dorset), John O’Keefe (Manchester), Ricky Harrington (Glastenbury), Mark Lourie (Rupert), Suzie dePeyster (Sandgate),
BCRC Staff: Michael S. Batcher, Jim Sullivan Public: Jeff Alibozek, Republic Services John Cullen, interested citizen
Others: Kristen Benoit, Windham County Solid Waste Management District Athena Bradley, Northeast Recycling Council Mike Durfor, Northeast Resource Recycling Association
Location and Time: Arlington Town Hall – 4:00 to 6:00 PM
Introductions: The Alliance members introduced themselves and asked those in the audience to identify themselves. We also had a sign-in sheet for the public hearing.
Pre-hearing discussion: Michael explained he was making some changes to the draft plan to take some sections, like the list of facilities, and put them in appendices to make future updates easier. He had learned that landfills needing periodic certification had to be listed and had included those. All of these changes would appear in the draft to be considered following the hearing and were not substantive changes.
Public Hearing: Keith opened the public hearing at 4:15 PM on the proposed Solid Waste Implementation Plan. Michael made a brief presentation on the SWIP, the Universal Recycling Law requirements and major action areas in the SWIP.
Mr. John Cullen expressed concern about how the hearing was publicized in that he did not see the notice in either the Banner or the Journal. He said no one reads the Banner so it should be on websites. Michael explained that it was posted 15 days in advance as well as the weekend before the hearing in both the Banner and the Journal, on the BCRC website and on town websites. The notice was sent to all towns and villages in the Alliance and hard copies mailed to the towns to be available for members of the public. He also mailed hard copies to all of the area haulers.
Mr. Cullen said that he had observed quite a few wine bottles in recycling containers at the transfer stations and that, perhaps, these should be covered under the bottle bill requiring a deposit for return of these bottles. He also said signage at these facilities was poor and that it was hard for residents and businesses to know where they were supposed to deposit their recyclables.
Keith asked Mr. Alibozek if he, as a hauler, had concerns. Mr. Alibozek explained that Republic was in compliance with the Universal Recycling Law and working on how to address leaf and yard waste. The reporting requirements would not be a problem given that they can either estimate or weigh materials picked up at individual locations. That led to several questions from Megan on how and why they did that and how waste from residential vs. commercial customers was handled. Megan was interested in learning more about where materials from the county go and advocated that the Alliance lobby to have materials recycled in Vermont to reduce transportation costs.
Hearing no further comments, the Alliance closed the hearing at approximately 4:50 PM.
Discussion on Education and Outreach: Kristen Benoit of the Windham County Solid Waste Management District started off explaining how her position had changed from a mix of office management, customer service and outreach to full time outreach to meet the requirements of the Universal Recycling Law. She explained that they were doing outreach to schools and businesses and gearing up to assist with events by helping to provide containers for recycling. Brattleboro has initiated compost pickups, and that program has grown dramatically over the past year. She stated that schools are not doing all they need to do to recycle. Once they learn how much they can save, they become more interested. Kristen has done a series of surveys, especially looking into dumpsters, to find out what ends up where and that has helped her inform schools and businesses on how they can better separate materials and pay less for waste hauling.
Athena Bradley of NERC described the programs she had developed at the Arlington Memorial High School and Middle School and Monument Elementary, both focused on initiating composting programs. Athena emphasized the need to complete waste audits with the schools. She described the programs involving separation of food scraps, the need for student monitors and other aspects of her programs at the two schools. She also emphasized the importance of waste audits and of periodically going back to assist schools to keep their programs viable. Both she and Kristen emphasized that finding the right people, holding stakeholder meetings with teachers, kitchen staff, maintenance staff and others was critical to starting and maintaining a program.
Mike Durfor of NRRA spoke to the group about the work that NRRA does in assisting towns in recycling and in school and business outreach. NRRA has member towns that require assistance in finding markets for recyclables. NRRA also assists in school and business outreach. They use a number of outreach methods including “trash on the lawn” with students to go through the waste within the school and identify how each item would best be disposed. Mike also described some of the issues with respect to recycling such as the lower market prices for recyclables given the current low oil costs and the problem of transportation costs which makes transport of some materials, like glass and organics, very expensive.
Michael’s Items: Michael asked about several items:
1. There are a series of meetings that he has attended in the past, such as the VT Solid Waste District Managers, the Recycling Coordinators and the HHW network. As he works on a contract, he will need to know if the Alliance wants to continue contact with these networks that provide important information as well as a unified front in meetings with ANR. There was a brief discussion on this, but no resolution.
2. VT ANR is requiring us to complete a survey of residents and businesses within a few months of adoption of our SWIP. They have developed a questionnaire, but how this is to be delivered has not been finalized. Keith thought the survey a waste of time and had heard that other solid waste entities were concerned about it. Michael said this was something they could talk with ANR about at the next meeting.
3. We have not received pre-approval as yet and are waiting on the response to the changes we made to the earlier draft of the plan.
4. VT ANR has developed contracts for recycling containers for public places. The group was interested in these, and Michael will send out the information once he compiles it.
We need to hold a second public hearing. That was scheduled for July 21, 2015 during our next meeting. Michael will send out the public hearing notices.