Volume of trash picked up at curbside down 11%

LACONIA — In the 12 weeks since a mandatory recycling program was introduced in July, the tonnage of solid waste collected at the curbside, transported to Concord and incinerated has fallen by 113.64 tons, or 11-percent, from 1,026.71 tons during the same period in 2012 to 913.07 tons this year.

At a cost of approximately $150 per ton, the cost of collecting, hauling and disposing of solid waste during the first quarter was reduced by $17,046, from $154,006 in 2012 to $136,960 in 2013.

City Manager Scott Myers will tonight report the results of the mandatory recycling program in the first quarter of the fiscal year to the City Council. In a memorandum to the council, he explained that the volumes of recycling and trash fluctuated throughout the year, rising during summer months and around major holidays.

The 2013-2014 city budget appropriated approximately $589,000 to collect, haul and dispose of household trash left at the curb, which represents 3,925 tons at a cost of $150 a ton. The budget projects that the tonnage of solid waste collected at the curbside will be reduced by 575 tons, sparing $86,250 in costs.

Since recyclable materials are collected every other week, solid waste tonnage in tracked on 26 two-week cycles. To meet the budgeted target, the tonnage of solid waste collected during each cycle must average 151 tons; that is, to meet the target in any given cycle, collections must total 151 or tons or less.

During the six cycles of the first quarter collections averaged 152.2 tons. However, the tonnage collected has declined from 160.53 tons to 140.51 tons between the first cycle and the last while the average has fallen from 157.46 tons during the first three cycles to 146.89 tons during the last three cycles. Moreover, the the tonnage collected in each of the six cycles was less than that collected in the same period a year ago.

On annualized basis, the first quarter results represent a reduction in curbside collection of solid waste of 3,652 tons and a reduction in collection, haulage and disposal costs of $68,184. Although both figures are shy of budgeted targets, since the introduction of mandatory recycling in July, the volume of recyclables appears to be increasing and the the volume of solid waste decreasing, a trend that indicates over the course of the fiscal year the targets will not be out of reach.