Westford Recycling and Trash Statistics for FY2020
Overall in FY2020, Westford saw a negative trend in both trash reduction and recycling collection. This trend negative trend in recycling and trash started in 2016 and is not sustainable long-term. The next few years will increased attention to how we reverse this trend particularly on trash reduction as the tipping fees will only increase in coming years.
Westford had an decrease of 88.0 tons of recycling in FY2020 compared to the previous year. This is an 3.5% decrease over this period continuing a trend of declining recycling over the past 10 years. Not included in this figure is the 27,420 lbs (12.4 MT) that was recycled at the September 2019 Electronics Recycling Event. In February 2020, Westford Recycling Commission visited Westford’s recycling vendor, Waste Management, as part of an audit to verify if Westford’s recycling composition matched the requirement in the contract. Essentially, if the audit showed that Westford residents are putting non-recyclables in excess of 10% by weight, this would trigger penalties as removing non-recyclables incurs additional costs. However, the audit showed that only 8.4% of the Town's recyclables contained contaminants meaning that Westford residents are doing a good job separating trash from recycling material. Since our tipping costs are based on the value of recyclables, this helps offset the cost of recycling.
Westford had an increase of 340.4 tons of trash in FY2019 compared to the previous year. This is a 4.5% increase in trash continuing a trend in recent years of year-over-year trash amounts (see figure below). With tipping fees continuing to increase year, this will have long-term effects of the Town's budget. With a tipping fee of $75 / MT, this is an additional $25,530 in costs for the Town.
For additional information view the Trends in Westford Recycling Efforts (PDF).