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West Paris recycling program gets thumbs up
WEST PARIS — The town's zero-sort recycling program, entering its second year, has been successful, reported Karen McNaughton, a representative of Pine Tree Waste Services, during an unofficial selectmen meeting January 24.
"The town of West Paris has done a fabulous job on your program," McNaughton said.
Along with Town Manager John White, Selectman Wade Rainey was the only selectman present to hear McNaughton's solid waste and recycling update.
From January to December, 2012, the town of West Paris generated 328.01 tons of solid waste, according to McNaughton's report.
She also reported that commercial waste in 2012 was 182.33 tons; commercial recycled corrugated cardboard was 22.92 tons; over-sized bulky waste/construction debris – 92.98 tons; recycled clean wood – 10.70 tons; and zero-sort recycling – 78.93 tons.
AAH Fireworks, which opened last June, McNaughton said, generated 2.23 tons of old corrugated carboard, mixed paper and pallets for the month of July alone.
Total tons collected in West Paris by Pine Tree Waste in 2012 was 718.10 tons, according to McNaughton's report.
"The good news," McNaughton said, "is I pulled the 2011 comparison and this six-month average, from July to December, when you started your new zero-sort recycling program to this year's average, you're up – so that's good."
McNaughton said the town is at a 24 percent diversion rate of its waste materials from recycling. "That's excellent," she said, noting that transfer station employees do a good job monitoring the program.
"I've heard nothing but good things," White said.
One concern, said McNaughton, is the town's commercial trash collection. Currently, the municipal and commercial diversion rate is down 20.39 percent, she said.
"On a voluntary program ... I always say 'you can hit 25 percent,' so you are only 1 percent away from that goal," she told Rainey and White.
"Congratulations, your program is doing phenomenal."
McNaughton said the town has also seen a reduction in budget expenses at the transfer station since the recycling program began.
According to McNaughton, there are 15 commercial waste containers throughout town and four containers for recycled corrugated cardboard.
Rainey said the town began the zero-sort recycling program partly because businesses were not separating their recyclables from their trash.
"Everyone else in town is more or less recycling, and now all these commercial ones are just throwing everything in," Rainey said. "That's not really what we want."
On average, McNaughton reported, it costs the town $35 per week for hauling of its corrugated cardboard.
For businesses, the main portion of Pine Tree Waste bill is disposal, ranging from anywhere between 40 to 80 percent, depending on the weight of trash and cost per ton for disposal.
"Most communities today don't include paying for commercial businesses," McNaughton said, explaining many towns have ordinances in place to prohibit businesses and commercial haulers from dumping into hopper compactors.
"What it means, too, is those who have a trash container, if they still want to keep the container, they may want to consider recycling," McNaughton said. "And, they are liable to get rid of these containers and start utilizing the transfer station."
"If that comes to light, Pine Tree Waste would be more than happy to go around to each individual business ... to explain the change that's been made within the town," she said.
Rainey said he would discuss the potential change with selectmen at a future meeting.
McNaughton said she would get the town a quote on 40-yard container versus a 30-yard container, which the town currently uses, as suggested by Rainey.
"We are providing a place for them [businesses] to bring their trash of all kinds," Rainey said, of the town's transfer station.
"The recycling part is what bothers us."