The Ordinance Committee Talks Waste Management

Posted on August 14, 2012

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Waste Management representatives James Nocella and Michael Wall (far right, standing) present in front of the Ordinance subcommittee on August 14, 2012. Notice the bare floor!

The acoustics of Room 402 leave much to be desired. Subtract the presence of carpeting due to renovations and add the open windows due to the lack of air conditioning in City Hall and what you get is a frustrating exercise in listening to the City Council Ordinance subcommittee meeting where solutions to Lynn’s trash problem were discussed. According to Seth Albaum of Lynn Happens, the video microphone probably won’t be any better than the human ear. But then again, I have found the audio in his recordings of the main chamber proceedings surprisingly clear.  I’ll link to tonight’s video once it’s posted.

I found it necessary to speak with the participants one on one after the meeting to see if I had heard everything correctly. The subcommittee chaired by Councilman Darren Cyr invited two employees of Waste Management to give a presentation on the programs they’ve created to handle municipal waste streams. James Nocella, the Private Sector Services Manager, and Michael Wall, Public Sector Solutions, described what their company had accomplished for the town of Medford.

In essence, Waste Management supplied uniform barrels for trash and recycling to all residents. The recycling barrel is a gigantic 96 gallon capacity container meant to encourage recycling, which Waste Management can make some money off of.  A smaller 64 gallon container handles the trash, big enough to handle an average household’s waster stream minus the recyclables. The barrels are built to accommodate automated loading into the waste collection trucks if possible and are rodent resistant.

The program has worked well for Medford said Nocella and Wall, reducing tonnage of waste, increasing recycling and improving aesthetics.

One scenario Nocella and Wall described would not cost the city any additional money for trash removal, according to Councilor Brendan Crighton, who has played a leading role in brainstorming solutions with the Mayor and acting DPW head Manny Alcantara. Waste Management would own the barrels in this scenario. Such a program could be started in short time.

The devil is in the details here. Both Nocella and Wall made it clear  to me that no cost scenario was only one of many possibilities. Every municipality has different needs, they said. No two are alike. Much remains to be negotiated if the city were to mandate a program like this.

In other developments, the Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce is helping to redraft the amendment to the trash ordinance that Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy vetoed last year. Working with city officials, GLCC Treasurer Ron Mendes said his organization was getting close to a decent final draft agreeable to all parties.

At the end of the meeting Chairman Cyr moved to hold a special session of the subcommittee next Tuesday to discuss the trash problem. Council members urged the GLCC to finish its redraft of the trash ordinance in time for that meeting. “We’ve got to keep the ball rolling,” said Cyr.

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