PEPPERELL — The transfer station wants your junk.
Trash, plastic, paper — they will take it all, everything except hazardous waste. To make the deal even better, using the transfer station is probably cheaper than hiring a company to pick it up at the curb.
“We have to be cheaper than the truck,” said Peter Shattuck, director of the transfer station, highway department and assistant fire chief.
A $69 transfer station sticker gets you into the station for one year. Trash disposal is an additional $2 per 39-gallon bag. Recycling is free.
For the year, it will cost a sticker holder with three bags of trash a week $381 including the cost of the sticker.
One of the hauling companies charges $34 a week for 96 gallons and unlimited recycling with curbside pick-up. That works out to $1,768 a year.
Going to the transfer station is not for everyone. Paul Pillsbury, an operator at the center, tells people to look at the flier mailed to residents to see if it will work for them.
The busiest day is Saturday when most people are not working, monitor operator Bob Wasylak said. Cars line up outside the gate by 6:45 a.m. The center opens at 7 a.m.
The transfer station is an enterprise fund and self-supporting, said Shattuck. It receives no funding from the town.
Usually two employees are on hand to help people sort their trash and recyclables into the correct containers.
The station tows trailers of trash to a plant in North Andover where it is burned for energy, Shattuck said.
“They want our trash tonnage,” he said.
The Pepperell station bales the recyclables and other companies pick material up for processing. The transfer station is paid for by the materials that can be recycled.
Sorting the recyclables correctly is important for the income stream. If a bale is opened and has trash mixed in with the recyclable materials, the recycler will toss the bale, Shattuck said. The transfer station will not be paid for that bale.
Household hazardous waste disposal is coordinated through the Board of Health. This year, because of the budget cuts, there will be no hazardous waste day in Pepperell, said Sandra Grogan, board secretary.
In the past, the board hired a company to come into town once a year. They would transfer hazardous material from residents’ vehicles to disposal containers.
“There was no fee,” said Grogan, “It was in the taxes.” The board originally budgeted $6,500 for a hazardous waste day in 2015.
Residents can purchase disposal units for sharps, like needles, at the Board of Health in Town Hall, but the container must be returned to the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health at 30 Central Ave. in Ayer, she said.
The transfer center is open Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., except on Saturday when it closes at 3:30 p.m.
It accepts newspaper, cardboard, paper, plastic jugs and bottles marked with 1 or 2, aluminum beverage cans, items with mercury and glass and steel food containers.
Some bulky items require an additional fee. Demolition debris is $0.11 per pound. The transfer station recently purchased a drive-on scale so that the fee is accurate.
Anything that is not recyclable or hazardous waste, such as Styrofoam, should go in the trash bag.
Even though not everything can be recycled, Pepperell’s trash is burned instead of being buried in the ground.
“None of this ends up in a landfill,” said Shattuck.
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