Sunday: 7 am to 12 pm
NOTICE: "Although the Governor has lifted the CDC rules for wearing masks outside, it still contains the stipulation that masks must be worn when social distancing cannot be adhered to. The Town of South Berwick has not changed the rules at the Transfer Station. Masks must be worn by employees and residents at the Transfer Station until further notice. ~Perry A. Ellsworth, Town Manager 4/28/21
Household trash must be placed in official
Town of South Berwick Blue Bags.
These bags may be purchased at the following locations:
- Nature's Way Market
- South Berwick Pharmacy
- Kaden's (Formerly "The Lunchbox")
- Cumberland Farms
for further information on how to sort your trash and recycling.
RECYCLING IS MANDATORY IN SOUTH BERWICK
There is no other department in Town where residents can have a direct impact on operational costs. Recycling saves valuable resources, reduces operating costs and reduces disposal fees. As markets for recyclables change, the Supervisor may change procedures on how recyclables are handled. Attendants at the Transfer Station are at your service and are here to help. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions or offer comments you may have. For those who make a great effort to recycle, keep up the good work!
The Transfer Station Rules require the Town to charge disposal fees on wastes the Town pays extra for and are not included in the tax base. These fees are user fees. Not all residents generate these types of waste and therefore residents are required to "Pay As You Throw." Please check with an attendant to view the complete list of fees. Call or ask an attendant if fees apply before bringing waste to the Transfer Station.
Transfer Station Use & Fees
Use of Transfer Station
There is NO trash pickup by the Town. Any trash that is picked up is picked up by an individual who has that business.
We have some guidelines for the use of our transfer station.
- All household trash must be bagged!
- Our Transfer Station is for the use of Berwick residents only. Some other local area towns do not offer this convenience to their public. The cost of waste disposal is very expensive and we simply cannot bear the cost of disposing of other folk's trash.
- The Transfer Station is continuing to collect donations for the local food pantry. Non-perishable food items, canned goods, personal care items, and baby food items are needed.
- Please be sure to check the expiration date on all food items.
Fees for Disposing of waste items
- There are no fees for regular "household garbage". The Town also takes brush and yard cleanup waste.
- See the Fee Schedule at the bottom of this page for more details. Furniture, appliances, tires and more.
- Certain items, like hazardous chemicals have limited collection times for their disposal. The Town typically participates in a Hazardous Waste Collection Day (call for date, typically annually in September).
- In addition to being potentially dangerous, some of the items deposited are recycled for the benefit of the Town. This helps offset some of our disposal costs.
Copy and paste this code into your website.<a href="http://www.berwickmaine.org/departments/transfer_station/transfer_station_use___fees.php">Your Link Name</a>
South Berwick residents not thrilled with pay-per-bag system: Change to take effect Jan. 1.
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Tossing a small bag of trash into a rusted-out solid hopper at the transfer station last week, Irene McKinley said she was not looking forward to purchasing trash bags when the station's pay-per-bag system goes into effect January 1.
Not many residents are.
Initial resistance to paying for trash disposal is common, according to George MacDonald, manager for the state's waste management and recycling program. But once people become educated, they usually end up supporting it, he said.
That was the case when North Berwick instituted its pay-per-bag system eight years ago. At the beginning of public hearings held after the program was announced, Town Manager Dwayne Morin said 90 percent of people in the room would be against it at first. But by the end, 80 percent came away from the meeting in favor of it.
North Berwick's program, however, was the result of a volunteer committee recommendation followed by a Town Meeting vote and a year of educational meetings. The decision to institute pay-per-bag in South Berwick was made in a top-down fashion by the council, with four months of informational meetings.
Most people interviewed at the transfer station on a recent Wednesday groaned at the idea of paying to throw away trash, which they currently do for free. Others were unaware of the impending program.
Transfer station manager Gary Boucher said he has heard as much positive feedback on pay-per-bag as negative.
"I think mostly generally, the program will go okay," said Boucher, standing in front of his office as people drove up to the station in vehicles full of trash bags and separated recyclables.
He admitted the transition to a pay system January 1 won't go over well with everyone, but predicted things will go smoothly once they get over the initial shock.
The council is hoping people won't be caught off-guard; this year's property tax bills were accompanied with a pay-per-bag flyer, and the council has scheduled four public informational meetings.
At the first meeting in September, the council faced a sometimes hostile crowd who slammed the program.
That kind of discontent is normal at first, MacDonald said.
"Change is not easily accepted," he said.
According to 2006 statistics compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 158 communities in Maine have a pay-per-bag system The tally represents about 7 percent of the state's municipalities. Pay-per-bag gained popularity in the 1990s after a promotional campaign by the EPA in the 1980s, and a steady stream of communities have adopted it in recent years, MacDonald said.
The system essentially treats trash disposal like a utility.
"You pay for what you use," MacDonald said.
Under the South Berwick pay-per-bag system, a family of two who uses two bags a week would pay $130 a year, figuring they use an equal amount of $1 and $1.50 bags — the proposed prices for 15- and 33-gallon bags, respectively. A family of five who uses five bags a week would pay $325 year.
The idea of pay-per-bag had been discussed by the council for the last few years before it was passed in April. The council added $60,000 in projected revenue for last half of the 2009 budget year and dropped the tax rate by 17 cents per $1,000 valuation.
The tax cut will shave $80 a year off the tax bill for a $238,000 home — the average price of a house in South Berwick.
But the extra cost of paying for bags is not palatable to residents dealing with the rising cost of most necessities as the economy has faltered over the last year. And property taxes in South Berwick increased by 11 percent over last year.
"I think we pay enough in taxes," said McKinley, who added a lot of people she has talked to are unaware of the upcoming program.
Boucher said he expects a significant increase in recycling — which is free, and will remain so — as residents become more aware of which items they throw away when they have to start paying for trash bags. The town makes money off selling its recycable items, and Boucher said he is projecting a $20,000-$25,000 yearly increase when pay-per-bag begins. That revenue is transferred into the town's general fund and not reflected in property tax bills.
The Solid Waste Committee recommended the transfer station convert to a single-stream system, where all recycables are thrown into the same hopper. Under the current system there are multiple recepticles for different items such as paper, bottles, and metals.
Boucher said single-stream would be easier for residents but also result in a dramatic decrease in revenue because a single company would purchase the town's recyclables. Currently the town averages $3,416 in monthly revenue selling recyclables to a variety of companies; under single-stream it would make only $408 a month, Boucher said.
To reduce the amount of waste people will need to bag in January, there will be a recepticle for some types of plastics the station currently does not accept for recycling, Boucher said.
Reflecting on his town's experience with pay-per-bag, North Berwick Town Manager Dwayne Morin recommended focusing on "simple things," such as educating the public, making sure the bags are sturdy enough, and selling them at convenient locations. Boucher said bags will be sold at downtown businesses, as well as grocery stores in Dover and Somersworth. A decision has yet to be made on if bags will be sold at the transfer station.
Morin said the educational meetings in his town were key in reducing the initial shock of having to pay for bags. In the program's first year, the town reduced its solid waste by 47 percent and dropped its tax rate between 5-10 cents per $1,000 valuation, Morin said.
Even with increased awareness, however, Morin said it is impossible to please everyone.
"Anytime you have a major shift in policy you're always going to have people who are unhappy," he said.
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