The town is transitioning from the pay-as-you-throw trash program to a trash container system.
The town agreed to a five-year contract with Waste Management to collect the trash in containers. Residents on the town’s trash program—approximately 8,000—will be receiving a 35-gallon barrel starting July 17. The new system follows an agreement between North Attleborough and Waste Management for a five-year contract, which includes collecting trash in the plastic toters. Starting July 17, residents who utilize the trash program will receive one 35-gallon barrel.
Prior to this, residents used plastic trash bags that could be purchased at several stores, including Town Hall. Those bags can still be used, should the barrels be filled before trash pickup day. Through the new contract, the annual solid waste fee will increase from $250 to $385.
Solid Waste Director Laura Munson said theywill be able to carry more trash and allow residents to spend less on garbage bags. According to Munson, more than 23 tons of trash is thrown out each year in North Attleborough.
“Residents got tired of purchasing the bags,” Munson said. “You can fit everything in (the barrels), so you don’t need to use multiple bags. It will also help address the problem of rats crawling into the trash bags.”
Attleboro already made the switch to containers in 2020. Plainville is transitioning to garbage bins this year.
Town Councilor Mark Gould said the containers will be beneficial in keeping rats out of his garbage. He said the town could have purchased larger barrels to accommodate families, but doing so would have increased the cost to the town.
“I would have preferred the larger sizes to fit my family since I have kids,” Gould said. “The administration informed us that to have the larger size would have cost each residential unit an extra $175 per year.
Council President Justin Pare said he too was worried about the size of the container, but said anyone can still purchase extra bags for any additional garbage.
“Bins are definitely better for the rodent issues as well versus bags on the ground that can get torn up,” he said. “We are keeping the same recycling bins.”
The reception from residents was mixed, with some supporting the new system while others expressing disappointment in the change.
Julia Wheatley said the containers were a positive addition to the town and will keep the smell of garbage contained.
“I always prefer it,” Wheatley said. “I would rather have a can instead of random bags lying about.”
Emma Kinsherf said she liked the idea of new carts, but expressed concern that they were too small.
“I’m a little bummed about the size of the trash bins,” Kinsherf said. “I’m glad we’re getting barrels instead of the bags but 35 gallons is really small for our family.”
Others, such as Georgette Payne, said the containers would be cumbersome as she only throws out a small bag of garbage once a month.
“I put maybe a small bag once a month and recycle less than that,” Payne said. “Price going up, I understand, but it’s not fair to a single person household paying the same as a family.”
Gould said he understands the complaints, but said this was the best solution in order to keep spending on trash disposal lower for both the town and their constituents.
“Yes, there are a few people who would have preferred to stay with bags, and there are people who would have preferred larger sizes,” Gould said. “The administration says for the majority of people the weekly trash will fit in the plastic barrels. Given the cost, I support the decision that was made to get 35-gallon bins.”