Dynamic Solution Proposed For Transfer Station

Alert — and conscientious — “06880” reader David Meth writes:

Anyone who uses the transfer station sees many items in good or workable condition tossed away because they are no longer wanted, used, or just out of date.

Wouldn’t it be nice to consider someone else who could use them?

This is especially true of bicycles. We are fortunate to have Cycle Dynamics. Owner Charlie Gander has a warm and open heart. He and his crew take discarded bikes, fix and tune them up, then provide them to children through 3 Bridgeport charities.

I used to take bikes, when they were in reach, from the transfer station “metal” section, slide them in the back of my car, and bring them to Cycle Dynamics.

Now, with cameras everywhere, it’s not possible. I understand the risks of someone getting hurt, but there is a solution. In a town whose population comes together to support people in need, can’t we create a section for donations, rather than trash these reusable items?

Bicycles provide such joy. And Cycle Dynamics provides a way for children to enjoy them.

Great idea, Dave. Westport: What’s the next step toward making this happen?

Bikes at the transfer station on Thursday — ready to be trashed, not allowed to be taken. (Photo/David Meth)

23 responses to “Dynamic Solution Proposed For Transfer Station

  1. Many transfer stations have volunteer operated “swap shops”.
    PW Dept says liability is too high to allow “picking” of the usable items…the town has plenty of liability insurance to cover the risk of “the automatic recycling” that could take place if picking were allowed.

  2. I think this is an excellent idea! I wish my transfer station had something to do this. Some in New Hampshire and on Cape Cod have what they call swap shops where you can drop off items and also take what you want. Something along these lines would be great. There could be a separate area for bike dropoff.

  3. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    My town (Stonington, CT) has the “still good” shed at our dump. Westport ought to query the CT towns that do this sort of thing to see how it’s managed, insurance-wise. Surely, Westport could make this happen!

  4. Michael Calise

    I have often said that on any Saturday morning in the same instance someone is discarding something at the transfer station while someone else is buying the same thing at a retail store.

  5. Laurie Goldberg

    Please let’s not forget freecycle.org. Our local group is at
    groups. Freecycle.Org/Westport.

  6. Carol Anne Ances

    Great idea. And why not other usable things too. Peterborough, NH has a “store” in the transfer station. People drop off usable things they don’t want and others can pick them up. Why not Westport?

  7. Thank goodness someone has finally addressed the issue of perfectly good & often expensive discarded items at the transfer station. The Westport Transfer Station discards MILLIONS of Dollars of perfectly useful & working items. It should be an obligation of the town to recycle not just plastics & paper but these much more valuable useful items. Does anyone need an explanation why? Here’s some examples- The Westport Library recently opened a used book store because for years the sales of those “donations” supported the library and kept perfectly good books out of landfills. The semiannual book sales were so popular it drew people from surrounding states. An army of volunteers made it happen. The Woman’s league on Imperial ave. has a successful dedicated Thrift shop used for fund raising now for decades. Goodwill has a huge building on Post road and a thriving business. Having personally renovated four historical buildings here in Westport I have had innumerable occasions to drop off “trash” at the transfer station….. and have witnessed MILLIONS of dollars of perfectly good Items discarded because someone was moving, someone was cleaning out no longer needed or used items, was changing the look of their décor, etc. etc. etc. One business that was located on the Westport/Norwalk line was launched to support recovering addicts just from the donated discarded appliances from kitchen renovations here in Westport and has moved to larger warehousing and expanded to other states. Habitat for Humanity has a huge building full of discarded building materials in Bridgeport. There are consignment shops in town that thrive. Every year when the good weather comes there are Tag sales and Estate sales that you need to get a numbered ticket to even view. How can Westport not do something to prevent the filling of landfills and instead offer these items for the taking or donation right at the transfer station. The only excuse I’ve heard is the lawyers concerns for liability when we should be focused on responsibility & accountability. This is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country that has lost touch with the reality of those families that would thank them for the opportunity to have what they throw away. The only thing that needs to happen is the political will to make it happen. With an election coming up I’ll be looking for candidates that have a responsibility to see Westport as a place that has unique opportunities to do some public good for all “neighbors” not just in this town.

    • James Waldron

      Wealth doesn’t buy class nor generosity to those less fortunate. Look no further than 06880

  8. Polly Newman

    Darien has a swap shop at their transfer station in case you want to get ideas of how to run one.

  9. Chip Stephens SHS73

    Great situation is brought up here. It is a shame but many do not realize that there are a good number of individuals and families that live at or under the wealth margin in 06880. That is a fact and this article points out a partial solution. In the small town, here in Maine, at the transfer station there are two illustrations of the suggestions above.
    One is a small shop that is simply “Leave a donation of gently used clothing, kitchen ware, small appliances and bikes.. and take any thing you need: free, no cost, no judgement” Volunteers keep things organized and when something is “junk” it goes nearby into recycling. Anyone can give or get, very helpful if one needs a replacement something or piece of something. Or just a shirt, pants gloves or ….
    The second idea is a bin (like clothing donation bin), that people drop off returnable bottles and cans for a cause. Here the Scouts benefit and empty and return the returnables. The bin is often overflowing with 5-50 cent donations of empties that now populate the general recycle hopper and leave hundreds of dollars of value up in smoke.
    Two ideas take little space and provide assistance to hundreds that would normally go to waste. One persons trash is another’s saving grace. Think about it

    • Maine is also a hotbed of “freecycling.” Put anything you no longer need in your front yard with a “free” sign on it, and watch it disappear. It is astounding how efficient this system is.

  10. Wendy Crowther

    I’d love to see Westport look into the suggestions made above. In the meantime, another solution is BuyNothingWestport. It’s a community-based website that anyone in Westport can join. Google it to learn more. You can make a wish for something you need, give away something you no longer want, and/or thank those who provided you with something. It’s super easy. And it’s also surprising how your unwanted things are needed and appreciated by others. All items free. No payments allowed. It’s Facebook based.

  11. Susan Iseman

    I have noticed 2-3 additional gentlemen on staff at the WTS lately. It appears they are directing traffic and pointing out what items go where. Does anyone know what they were hired to do? I agree, there are items that can be re-used and it’s a shame that isn’t happening.

  12. Nancie Rinaldi

    I think this is a great idea. So many transfer stations have a place to leave/pick-up perfectly usable items. Darien was mentioned but I know other towns, including I believe Redding, have an area to drop off/pickup. We spend a lot of time in VT an our local transfer station has a separate area where we often drop off perfectly good household items. I think Westport’s time has come to do the same.

  13. I am guilty of recovering”dump bikes” at the transfer station but that was a few years ago when you were allowed to just grab them. I was surprised to hear the new policy but Bud at the transfer station told me it is an insurance issue. When my oldest was seven I scored a 1973 brown schwinn classic in excellent condition!!

  14. Peter Barlow

    When I lived in Westport I used to bring home all sorts of things from the “transfer station” which we knew then as “the dump.” When did Westport put in this rule? If it’s an insurance issue, that’s stupid! These days I find useful things at Stonington’s “Still Good Shed” and take things there as well. Why should good things be wasted?

  15. Dermot Meuchner

    Simple solutions to this problem but lawyers make it the Myth of Sisyphus.

  16. Suzanne Raboy

    A “donate” are would be great!

  17. Gloria Gouveia

    Many people I know –me included —were beneficiaries of the usable items left at the transfer station until the recent prohibition. Years ago I had a friend who decorated most of her pricey Westport home with found treasures from the transfer station.
    As for insurance, if items are free for the taking, is there still a problem with insurance? I hope not, as that would provide good reason for the “finds” to be free for all. In a Town where it seems EVERYTHING comes with a price tag, wouldn’t that be refreshing? I’m confident that someone in Town government could provide a factual response to the question of insurance.

  18. I believe most towns have a spot for items with life in them. We need to make this happen.

  19. Northeast Community Cycles is a charity built entirely on getting bicycles in the hands of folks who can’t afford them. They’ll take your unwanted bike, fix it up, and get it to someone who wants and needs it.


  20. William Stevens

    I find it mind-boggling that anything in decent shape would ever make it to the dump in the first place! Does it say something about Westporters that residents wouldn’t first find an organization to come pick-up any and all good stuff instead of throwing it in your car bound for the dump!!

  21. Leslie Petersen

    All good answers above. I always try to find a second home for my no longer used goods. Let’s make this one more place to freely recycle.