Weekly Curbside Trash & Recycling

Dunstable has closed the Transfer Station as of September 2018 and has started a curbside trash collection and recycling program.

Over the years, increasing numbers of families in Dunstable have chosen to pay for private curbside pickup of trash and recycling rather than utilize the transfer station. Due to reduced participation, the transfer station is no longer financially sustainable and cannot continue. Rather than raise the transfer station rates, Dunstable is offering curbside service a rate similar to the current cost for an annual transfer station sticker. Dunstable has also received a grant from the State to help reduce costs associated with the purchase of carts for curbside trash and recycling.

The following questions and answers are designed to help inform residents of the plans moving forward:

1. When will the Transfer Station close?
The Transfer Station will close on August 31, 2018.

2: Why close the Transfer Station now?
The number of households utilizing the transfer station has dropped to the point where the transfer station is no longer sustainable.

3. Who manages the Transfer Station in Dunstable?
The Dunstable Board of Health.

4. What will take its place?
The Board of Health has contracted with a hauler to provide current transfer station users with curbside collection of trash and recycling at a price similar to the current cost of a transfer station sticker.

5. What will the program cost?
The cost will be $300 per year and will include a 2 carts (one for trash and one for recycling).

6. Is there a senior discount?
No. The $300/year rate is significantly less than the rate charged by private haulers in town. Private rates in Dunstable are currently as high as $456 per year.

7. What if I can’t afford to pay $300/year?
Please contact the Board of Health to discuss available options.

8. What will I get from the new curbside program?
Each participating household will receive 2 carts; a 35 gallon for weekly trash and a 64 gallon for recycling. Each week, trash and recycling will be picked up at the curb of each participating household.

9. Will I need to separate recyclable items into paper, plastic, glass, etc?
No. The recycling will be mixed recycling or “single-stream” meaning that all recyclable materials can be placed in the cart and no separation is necessary. Recycling must be clean. This means that the materials put in the recycle cart does not include any food waste, non-recyclable material or any hazardous waste.

10. My home has an in-law apartment. Is this considered one household or two?
This depends on the amount of trash you produce. If your family can utilize the 35 gallon cart for both units then it will be one household. If you need another trash cart then you will be considered two households.

11. What is a cart?
A cart is the large wheeled plastic container or “trash can” with a hinged lid that bags of trash or items for recycling are placed in.

12. I’ve noticed that other haulers offer larger carts for trash. Why is this program only offering 35 gallon carts for trash?
Dunstable is participating in a state-wide effort to reduce the amount of trash to be disposed of through a variety of measures including increased recycling, composting and good consumer decision making. Less trash is better for our town, our state and the environment as a whole.

13. What if I have more trash than will fit in a 35 gallon cart?
Overflow bags (33-gallon capacity with drawstring closure) will be available for an additional fee of $3.00 per bag. They will be available in rolls of 5 for $15. These bags will be expected to be used for any trash that does not fit inside the cart with the lid closed. The fee is to cover the cost for the added disposal and added administration of the bag.

14. Where can I purchase the overflow trash bags?
Overflow bags will be available for purchase at the Town Hall.

15. What is a bulk item?
Bulk waste items are defined as any item with weight or volume greater than those allowed in the trash cart or in an additional bag marked with an overflow sticker. Bulk items must not be considered hazardous waste or recyclable (metal items, appliances and electronics). Examples of bulk waste items include furniture, carpet, mattresses, baby cribs, etc.

16. How do I dispose of bulk items that won’t fit into a bag?
Bulk items can be collected at the curb by the hauler for a separate fee. Residents must make arrangement with the hauler directly by calling their customer service line.  Other possible methods for disposal of bulk items include:

  • DONATE items to places such as Savers, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.
  • The Board of Health is discussing having a bulky waste day at the old transfer station – if interested in volunteering at a possible event, contact the Board of Health.
  • Dunstable residents may bring bulky items and recyclables to the transfer station in Groton- call ahead to determine any fees that may be charged.
  • Pick-up truck loads may go to the scale at the Devens Recycling Center. For more information, click here.
  • Participate in the zero waste day in Littleton in the spring and in Shirley in the Fall (see information below)
  • Post item on the Yahoo group “Groton Free Stuff”. (See information below.)

17. How do I dispose of Appliances, Electronics, Metal, and Yard Waste?
Many items/materials can be collected at the curb by the hauler for a fee. Residents must make arrangement with the hauler directly by calling their customer service line.  Other possible methods for disposal of these items include:

  • DONATE items that can be donated- such as appliances and electronics
  • Compost your yard waste and Christmas trees
  • Dunstable residents may take appliances and electronics to the Groton transfer station in - call ahead to determine any fees that may be charged.

18. Who should I contact if I have questions?
You may contact the Board of Health at (978) 649-4514. Ext 229 Tuesday, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, or email. After September 1, you should contact the hauler directly. Contact information will be provided prior to curbside service starting.

19. When will the program start?
The program will start in September, 2018.

20. Can I hire my own hauler and choose not to participate in the town program?
Yes. This is a voluntary program designed to replace the transfer station. There is no obligation to participate.

21. I don’t currently use the transfer station. I have a private hauler that is charging me much more than $300/year. Can I join the town’s program instead?
Yes. All residents are welcome to participate.

22.  How will the Town deal with illegal dumping?
The town will regularly monitor areas that have historically had dumping issues.  We encourage residents to report offenders to the Board of Health.

23. What can residents do to make this program work?
There are many ways that residents can support this program including:

  • Participate in the curbside trash and recycle program being offered by the town. The more households that participate, the cheaper the annual rate will be.
  • Make sure that the items you recycle are clean – do not put food waste into the recycle bin.
  • Donate reusable items and take other actions to reduce waste,
  • Compost at home your yard and food waste (no meat no dairy)
  • Participate in the Tyngsborough/Dunstable Household Hazardous Waste event, do not put hazards in the trash.
  • Think when you shop to reduce waste in first place.

24. What is the Shirley October event?
Shirley runs a Recycle Your Reusables day. They take things that can’t be recycled anywhere else - including old tires, plastic bags, Styrofoam® and electronics (small cost). See the list here. The next event is on October 20, 2018.

25. What is Groton Free Stuff?
A free Yahoo group where area residents post items they are offering or looking for. This is a great way to have usable items get to area people that need them.

26. What is the Tyngsboro / Dunstable Hazardous Waste Event?
The 2018 Tyngsboro/Dunstable Hazardous Waste Day is a place to take hazardous items that cannot go in the trash. The next event is Saturday June 23, 2018 from 9:00am - 1:00pm.