Franklin Countys First News

Jay board talks improving recycling trends

Garbage that a Jay town crew found in recyclables destined for ecomaine.

JAY - The Board of Selectpersons voted Monday evening to ask the town's curbside pickup service to throw all bagged material into the trash, as well as directing the Solid Waste Committee to create bid specifications for both picking up only trash as well as trash and recyclables.

Currently the town operates with a single sort recycling, requiring residents to place their waste in trash bags with recycling kept loose in a separate container. After frequent reports of trash and recycling mix-ups from Transfer Station attendants, selectpersons have decided that anything placed in a bag will be considered trash.

After numerous incidences of attendants having to pick trash out of bags of recycling, the town is stressing that residents need to place their recycling loose in a container rather than in a trash bag. All bagged material will go into the trash.

"It seems like a logical first step to correct the problem and if it doesn't work we'll look at other options," Public Works Director John Johnson said.

Ecomaine, a single-sort recycling company out of Portland, accepts Jay's recyclables at the cost of $15 per ton. That price, locked in through a three-year contract, is extremely low, with other towns paying $100 to $115 per ton. That contract will end in June 2019 and an increase is anticipated.

Loads taken to ecomaine have to be free of contamination: non-recyclable material like plastic bags, Styrofoam, clothing and shoes and spoiled food items. Loads that are found to include more than 5 percent contamination will be assessed a $40 per ton fee. More than 10 percent will trigger a $70 per ton fee. That latter fee would result in nearly $1,000 per load transported to Portland. Funds for penalty fees were not included in the 2018-19 budget.

Over the past couple months, ecomaine and town officials have been pushing the importance of keeping trash out of the recyclables. However, Johnson said Monday evening that non-acceptable items are still going into the recycling.

Considerable discussion of the current recycling/waste system led the board to the possible idea of forgoing curbside recycling pick up altogether, requiring residents to bring their recycling to the transfer station. If that option were to be considered, the town would continue picking up garbage curbside. With the Solid Waste Committee meeting to create the draft for a bid package to be sent out this fall, selectpersons weighed in on what that package might include.

The board decided to send both options out to bid: continuing with the system currently being used as well as switching to trash-only pick up.

The Solid Waste Committee consists of Selectpersons Judy Diaz and Tim DeMillo; residents Tom Goding, Delance White, Mike Fournier, Susanne Czarnecki, Alfred Dufour III, Marilyn Morse, Greg Given, Richard Harvell and Lillian Wright, with Johnson and Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere also assisting.

The board said that, a public hearing would be held to discuss any major changes in the ordinance.

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