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Potsdam trash pickup may move from stickers to bags

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POTSDAM — Instead of buying stickers to have non-recyclable trash hauled away, village residents soon may be buying branded garbage bags.

Casella Waste Services, which manages trash pickup in the village, presented the bags plan to the village Board of Trustees on Monday.

The 15-gallon bags would be sold in packs of 10, at $1.40 per bag. Consumers would pay an extra dollar per pack in taxes if they purchased the bags from a store instead of directly from the village.

The stickers, sold in packs of 20, cost $1.25 each; this does not include the price of a garbage bag.

The long-standing sticker system has a few problems, according to Casella spokesman Chester W. “Skip” Bisnett.

“We struggle today with stickers,” Mr. Bisnett said.

First, the stickers are fairly easy to counterfeit, which is a problem that Casella and village police have been dealing with for a long time.

“We’ve never had anyone arrested, but we’ve certainly threatened it,” Mr. Bisnett said.

The stickers also are prone to falling off the bags in extreme cold. This can upset village residents when their trash is left on the curb because the sticker is absent.

The new bags would be bright yellow and emblazoned with the Casella logo on one side and the village’s logo on the other. They would be nearly impossible to counterfeit, and would remove all doubt as to whether villagers are following the rules.

Casella also would sell 30-gallon bags, at $2.80 each, in packs of five.

The bags will not be biodegradable.

Since Casella introduced zero-sort recycling last year, the recycling rate has jumped 9 percent, while trash going to the landfill dropped 61.39 tons from the year before. However, the trash that remains is heavier, according to Mr. Bisnett, which means it is important that the cost per bag is paid in full. Recyclable materials tend to be bulky and lighter than non-recyclables; with fewer pizza boxes and milk jugs ending up in landfills, the remaining trash is more dense.

If the program is approved, there will be a period during which both stickers and bags are accepted, in order to allow residents to use up remaining stickers. Casella also would accept trade-ins of stickers for bags.

Village trustees said they will wait to hear feedback from residents before acting on the proposal. If it is approved, it will be implemented early this summer.

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