Contact Information

Department of Public Works
6 Stanton Road
Windsor Locks, CT 06096

860-627-1405 (Phone)
PublicWorks@wlocks.com

Hours of Operation:
Monday thru Friday 7:00 am - 3:30 pm
www.windsorlocksct.org/public-works/public-works-department

Town of Windsor Locks, CT

Save Money and Reduce Trash (SMART)

Windsor Locks has the opportunity to participate in the SMART Pilot Program. SMART in Windsor Locks will:

  • Reduce the residential trash Windsor Locks deposits in overburdened landfills by 44%.
  • Reduce disposal costs by 44%, saving more than $200,000 each year in taxpayer funds. Savings guaranteed by participating in the one-year pilot program.
  • Establish Windsor Locks as a leader in solving the municipal solid waste disposal crisis.

Below you can view the slides from the Public Meeting on SMART which was held Thursday, April 16, 2020.

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How'd we get here?

The state of Connecticut has been actively encouraging waste reduction since 1990 through education and innovation, including such programs as the Bottle Bill, Single Stream Recycling, and Computer, Paint, and Mattress EPR. This has reduced trash by 160 pounds per person annually.  However, trash costs are projected to triple by 2028.  To solve this crisis, communities should look to SMART programs to ease the stress on aging waste facilities, prevent waste exports, and keep costs down for residents. In communities with SMART programs, they see a drop of an additional 450 pounds per person per year.  SMART communities throw away 40-60% less than communities without a SMART program.

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How does SMART work?

Currently, Windsor Locks residents pay about $1.1 million annually for trash through their property taxes.  The SMART program would shift the disposal costs out of the taxes and into a bag fee – just like a utility.  And residents would pay for the trash they generate, just like we pay for our water and electric usage. The prepaid trash bags would be available at local retail stores and residents would use these SMART bags for trash collection, placing them curbside in their trash carts on their collection day.   Only trash in the SMART bags will be collected for disposal. There is no cost to recycle and residents are encouraged to recycle all their paper, cardboard, bottles and cans in their recycling bin. Recycling more reduces the need to buy additional bags.

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What impact will SMART have on Windsor Locks?

With SMART, Windsor Locks will see their trash tonnage drop by 44%, or 2,206 Tons.  Recycling is also projected to increase by 882 Tons.  This would enable Windsor Locks to meet the Connecticut state diversion goal. Reducing trash by 2,206 Tons is equivalent to taking 820 cars off the road!  SMART is the single greatest step a municipality can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A 33-gallon SMART bag will cost $1.50, and a 15-gallon bag will cost $0.80. Most households in SMART programs use one bag per week. SMART will cost the average household less than $45/year and would save half a million in general tax expenses.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is SMART?

SMART stands for Save Money and Reduce Trash. Residents in SMART communities have an opportunity to pay for only the amount of trash that they generate and not subsidize the wasteful behavior of neighbors that don’t bother to recycle. SMART programs incentivize residents to view waste differently, to learn how to recycle correctly, and to reduce and reuse as much as possible.
Data demonstrates that communities with SMART rate structures can throw away over 50% less than communities that “hide” the cost of trash in their taxes. SMART, also known as Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) and Unit Based Pricing, is a method of charging residents for trash disposal based on the amount disposed in the same way that they are charged for electricity, gas, and other utilities. This provides incentives for residents to increase the amount they recycle and to find ways to generate less waste in the first place.

How does this program work?

Simply buy official Town-approved bags at participating retailers throughout the area and dispose of your trash in these bags as you normally would. Only the trash you put in these bags will be collected. As the program start date gets closer check the town website for a list of participating retailers.

Video response from
Courtney Forrester, WasteZero
Director, Community Programs

How would SMART work in Windsor Locks?

There would be no change to the way trash is collected in Windsor Locks. Residents’ collection schedules would also stay the same.

The only difference would be that residents would place their regular household trash into official Windsor Locks SMART trash bags, rather than other trash bags (such as Hefty®, Glad®, or some other brand). The official SMART bags would be available at local retailers such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and other places where trash bags are normally sold.

The SMART bags would be available in two sizes:
• 33-gallon trash bags = $1.50 each
• 15-gallon “tall kitchen” bags = $0.80 each

The money raised from the sale of these trash bags would go to the Town of Windsor Locks to help pay for trash collection and disposal.

With SMART, residents will have more control over their trash costs. Residents can save money by using fewer bags (e.g., by recycling more, composting, donating old clothes and shoes, buying products that use less packaging, and more).

With a SMART program, can residents still use their trash carts?

Absolutely, nothing about trash and recycling collection would change with SMART, other than using new bags. Recycling stays the exactly the same and should be placed loose in the blue bin.

Video response from
Courtney Forrester, WasteZero
Director, Community Programs

What sizes are the SMART bags?

The bags will be available in two sizes – 33-gallon and 15-gallon. The bags are thicker than normal bags, very durable and once you pull out all your bottles, cans, paper, and cardboard boxes for the recycling bin, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fits in one bag!

Video response from
Courtney Forrester, WasteZero
Director, Community Programs

Is it convenient for residents to get and use the SMART bags?

Very. SMART bags will be available at a wide range of retailers throughout the community. And residents will use them the same way they would regular trash bags.

Video response from
Courtney Forrester, WasteZero
Director, Community Programs

Are the SMART bags affordable?

Yes. Although the bags are more expensive than traditional black or white garbage bags, participants in SMART bag programs cut their trash by about half (and so typically use far fewer bags). Although everybody can throw away as much as they wish to, the average household in a SMART program uses four bags every month, or just 1 bag per week.
The SMART bags would be available in two sizes:
• 33-gallon trash bags = $1.50 each
• 15-gallon “tall kitchen” bags = $0.80 each

Do I use these SMART bags for recycling?

No. The SMART bags are only for trash. Please place your recyclables -- bottles, cans, paper and cardboard, loose in your blue recycling bin.

Video response from
Courtney Forrester, WasteZero
Director, Community Programs

What goes in my blue recycling bin?

Recycle CT flyer

Video Response from
Sherrill Baldwin, CT DEEP

Because of the Chinese National Sword Policy, recycling is costing some cities and towns a lot more money right now. So why should municipalities implement a program that promotes recycling?

With a SMART bag program, overall waste is reduced by 44%. However not all the reduced waste is shifted into curbside recycling. Approximately 40% of those diverted materials become new recycling, but 60% of those materials go elsewhere. For example, some people stop putting lawn waste in their trash bins, so material is diverted into lawn waste programs. With SMART, residents donate more used textiles, shoes and small household items to charity rather than tossing them in the trash. Items such as used sinks and faucets after small DIY remodel projects are more likely to end up being donated in SMART communities, whereas they are often thrown away in cities and towns without SMART. Other residents reuse materials more, compost food waste, or buy items with less packaging (thus reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place). Cities and towns save money because the total amount of material they must manage is greatly reduced.

Video response from
Jennifer Weymouth
Sustainable Materials Management
CT DEEP

Does SMART encourage contamination in the recycling bin?

Video response from John Phetteplace, the Director of Solid Waste and Recycling in Stonington, CT.

How is this program good for Windsor Locks?

In general, Windsor Locks’ SMART program may bring municipal, residential, and environmental benefits.
Municipalities benefit from savings in reduced tipping fees and possibly from earnings from recycling revenue.

Residents may benefit in several ways
– The program is more equitable. With the new program, people who generate less trash would pay less by using fewer bags. It reminds people to recycle more.
– The more a community can recycle, the greater the chances of increasing its job opportunities in the recycling/reuse industries.
– With the choice of how much they want to recycle, residents now have more control of their trash bills.

The environment is better preserved: When residents throw away less, recycle more, and “lighten the load” in any number of other ways, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, millions of BTUs of energy are saved, and natural resources last longer.

Is there evidence that SMART works?

Yes, there is clear evidence that SMART reduces waste. According to Commonwealth Magazine (January 2015), SMART communities in Massachusetts throw away 44% less waste than communities without SMART. According to an analysis by the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut residents throw away an average of 740 pounds of trash per person each year. Residents in communities with SMART systems throw away much less (typically 325 lbs. to 475 lbs. per year, on average.)

Video response from
Steve Lisauskas, WasteZero
Vice President of Government Affairs
Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships

What are residents’ reactions that have a SMART system in their Town?

Video response from
John Phetteplace, Director of Solid Waste and Recycling
Town of Stonington, CT

What have other Connecticut cities and towns done to address the increasing cost of trash?

Some CT cities and towns have simply stopped providing trash collection services—saving the cities money but costing residents significantly more. Some cities and towns currently use SMART, such as Coventry (which uses variable rate carts) and Stonington (which uses bag-based SMART). Others are exploring SMART just like Windsor Locks.

Video response from
Jenn Weymouth
Sustainable Materials Management
CT DEEP

How prevalent are SMART programs across the United States?

SMART-type programs can take many different forms, and not all are equally effective. The “SMART” concept of unit-based pricing for trash—also called “pay-as-you-throw”—is used in more than 8,000 cities and towns (20% of all municipalities), according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are 556 communities in New England with SMART programs. About 42% of municipalities in the state of Massachusetts use some form of SMART.

Video response from
Steve Lisauskas, WasteZero
Vice President of Government Affairs
Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships

Does SMART Trash increase illegal trash dumping?

Definitely not. Public works directors, city councilors, and mayors in SMART communities consistently report that illegal dumping did not increase in any appreciable way when they adopted SMART.

After a great deal of research across thousands of communities with SMART, the U.S. EPA has concluded that illegal dumping is “more a perceived barrier than a real issue.” The New England Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) states it clearly: “Many studies document that towns do not experience increased problems after switching” to pay-as-you-throw, adding, “Problems tend to be with bulky wastes (like sofas, mattresses, and tires) and existed before” variable-rate pricing was introduced. Many people express concerns about dumping before SMART goes into effect, but it does not actually become an issue for cities and towns with SMART.

Video response from
John Phetteplace, Director of Solid Waste and Recycling
Town of Stonington, CT

If taxpayers already pay for trash pickup, isn't this an additional tax for homeowners?

Windsor Locks residents currently pay around $937,000 per year in taxes to cover the pick-up and disposal of solid waste. They also pay separately for trash bags. Under SMART, residents only use an average of one bag per week, and municipal trash drops an average of 44%. This results in lower disposal costs for the municipal budget. As a result, taxpayers will get comparable service at less cost under the new system.

Video response from Steve Lisauskas, WasteZero
Vice President of Government Affairs
Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships

What if my neighbors don’t comply with the program?

Compliance generally reaches 99% within the first month. However, municipalities will need to create a protocol to handle those that do not comply, starting with a warning and moving from there. A few weeks of targeted enforcement generally works.
There are GPS systems that can be used to note homes that do not follow the program correctly. Warning letters—and eventually fines if needed—can be sent directly to residents. In the case of a contracted hauler or a subscription hauler, it’s recommended that the municipality handle the enforcement directly.

Video response from
Jenn Weymouth
Sustainable Materials Management
CT DEEP

Is there a better way? We should study this more and try other solutions like education or food waste collection or weekly recycling first.

Education alone is not the solution. Municipalities that implement recycling education and outreach campaigns see a slight increase in recycling participation. However, coupling education with SMART results in significant cost savings and waste reduction.

As municipalities are looking to offer increased services to residents such as collection of food, it’s important to consider SMART programs as a first step to maximize effectiveness of these programs. With SMART implemented first, residents will embrace more programs to divert additional materials from the trash. A 2017 MIT Study finds that “investing first in Pay As You Throw [or SMART] would mean that future diversion [recycling] programs are more likely to be successful”. Also, cost savings can help fund new programs such as food waste collection.

Video response from
Jenn Weymouth
Sustainable Materials Management
CT DEEP