Westfield recycling grant small part of total cost

WESTFIELD – Westfield was recently awarded a MassDEP Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) Municipal Grant of $18,000 to help maximize its recycling, composting and waste reduction programs. According to Board of Health Director Joseph Rouse, this grant will be used towards improvements/new programs for recycling at the Transfer Station.
However, both Rouse and DPW Interim Director Francis Cain acknowledged that the transfer station’s portion of Westfield’s single stream is just the drop-off component and doesn’t account for much of the overall City tonnage.
“The amount of $18,000 on the DPW side would be a drop in the bucket with us paying $97 per ton – that comes out to around $600 or $700 per truck every single day to get rid of the stuff and with truck loan payments of around $8,000 per month,” Cain said.
The $97 per ton is actually far better than what was initially proposed last December by the Materials Recycling Facility in Springfield for Westfield’s new contract. Westfield was coming to the end of a 10-year contract in which they had not been charged for recyclables transported to the processing facility at Bondi’s Island in Agawam, owned by the Department of Environmental Protection, and leased to Waste Management. However, in late fall, they were informed that prices would increase dramatically due to changes in the market for recyclable commodities.
The costs proposed in the new three-year contract with Springfield called for $145/ton in year one; $148/ton in year two, and $152/ton in year three. Westfield collects 3,200 tons of recyclables, and 12,000 tons of trash a year. Then DPW Director David Billips said the increase in the contract would amount to $500,000 to $600,000 annually for Westfield.
Westfield officials started meeting regularly with leaders from Agawam, Chicopee, Holyoke, West Springfield and Springfield, who were all facing the same increases to different extents, depending on whether they had single-stream or dual-stream recycling programs. For communities that retained dual-stream recycling, such as Holyoke, costs went from zero to $93 per ton. Westfield however was not interested in reverting the city back to dual-stream recycling.
The city rejected the Springfield contract in January, and started to look around for other options. Ultimately, they found a better alternative at Murphy Road Recycling, LLC in Connecticut.
“We were able to negotiate a good rate of $97 per ton,” said Westfield Procurement Officer Tammy Tefft. Tefft said the contract was executed for a July 1 start for three years.
Asked how the new arrangement was progressing, Tefft said, “I have heard no complaints on this contract,” also noting that she believed that West Springfield and Agawam also went with Murphy Road Recycling.

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