Over the next few weeks, the Swap Shop at the Hingham Transfer Station will be undergoing several improvements suggested by town committee members who want to make the town’s beloved recycling center even better.
Updates to the Swap Shop, which enable locals to drop off and pick up goods for free, have been ongoing for almost a year, after a short-term closure of the area for the landfill capping prompted officials to analyze operations in the area.
Since then, the Long Range Waste Disposal and Recycling Committee and DPW officials have been analyzing ways to keep the shop up and running, and now, after months of discussion and organization, the shop is ready to open in a new way.
Committee members discussed the changes with selectmen on Thursday night, detailing how the new space would work.
The Swap Shop will be located in a new area, defined by a concrete block wall to separate it from the flow of traffic. The area will have a single car lane into and out of the area, with at least 10 parking spots nearby.
Organizers have reused an old shed that the Hingham High School football team was going to throw out, which will allow for items to be stored overnight.
According to a memo from the Committee, the shop will also have delineated areas for different types of materials, such as household, kid stuff, outdoor/sports/garden, and electronics.
The biggest difference, however, is the presence of a volunteer group that will take over Swap Shop operations.
Organizers were “looking for 55 volunteers and [they] have 85, so all those people who were so concerned about the Swap Shop are all turning up to be part of the great new solution,” said Laura Burns, selectmen chair. “It’s a wonderful civic engagement going on there.”
The volunteers will be trained in what the Swap Shop can accept and what it cannot, and will help organize items that are brought in.
That vetting process will help eliminate much of the waste that comes from the Swap Shop, said DPW Supervisor Randy Sylvester.
“They will inspect the items that are coming in to the Swap Shop and say, such as mattresses that are dropped [off], wont be allowed, they will have to dispose of it properly,” Sylvester said.
Overall, it will be a big improvement for the transfer station and for the town, Sylvester said.
“I think it’s going to take a lot off of the transfer station’s plate. We had to spend a lot of manpower dealing with issues, and those will go away. It will make the Swap Shop a lot more safe because they will be out of the flow of traffic and won’t be as many backups as it was. We wont have to close it down, it will be open longer and it will be up to volunteers. I think overall it will be a better place to go and a more enjoyable experience for the patrons,” he said.
Sylvester said that DPW employees are in the process of setting up the area now and training the volunteers, but that with luck it will be finished by the second week of October.
The new shop will be open 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, whenever two volunteers are present to monitor the operations. Any Hingham resident over 18-years-old can volunteer.