December 14, 2022

New System for Collecting Waste Will Require Adapting to Changes

By Anne Levin

Trash was the focus of the Monday, December 12 meeting of Princeton Council. The governing body discussed a new collection system for solid waste that gets underway February 1, once 64-gallon carts are delivered to every residential dwelling during the last two weeks of January.

As the town’s Land Use Engineer Jim Purcell said in his presentation, the goal for the evening was to agree on the maximum number of carts per household, and the annual cost for additional carts if people request them. After some discussion, Councilmembers agreed on staff’s recommendation of one 64-gallon cart per dwelling, and a fee of $300 a year for extra carts.

But needing more than one 64-gallon cart is not likely, Purcell said, as Assistant Administrator and Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton demonstrated by stuffing seven Styrofoam-filled kitchen trash bags into a cart that had been brought in for the occasion. Purcell said the cart can handle up to 200 pounds of waste. Extra trash cannot be put out in bags, as it has been. Only the waste in carts will be collected.

Bulk waste collection, which includes things like furniture and rugs, will now be once a week, on Wednesdays. Residents will have to schedule the pickups, either by phone, email, the town’s website, or an online app. “A lot of change is happening,” said Councilwoman Eve Niedergang. “We need to educate people so they know what the changes are.”

Costs for trash collection have gone up significantly, and the new program is less expensive for Princeton. At this point, including organic waste would be too costly, but the idea has not been abandoned. “The bid that came in was too expensive, but we are working on a solution for that,” said Purcell.

Public hearings were held for three ordinances, related to public parking spaces for charging electric vehicles; salaries of some municipal personnel; and merging the zone maps of the former Borough and Township. All were passed unanimously. Councilman David Cohen said one reason the consolidation of the maps is significant is its new format, which is color-coded rather than black and white, making it much more readable.

Council meets next on Monday, December 19 at 7 p.m.