December 29, 2012

Wilton's single-stream recycling program saves cash, reduces trash

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WILTON -- The recycling program that the town switched to in September is expected to save taxpayers a few thousand dollars annually in disposal costs and is being greeted enthusiastically by residents, according to Town Manager Rhonda Irish.

click image to enlarge

Reggie Lane, center, an employee at the Wilton Transfer Station, fishes a plastic bag out of the single-stream dumpster as Lawrence Farrington, right, and his wife, Marcella, left, throw away recylable materials on Wednesday. Although the new recycling method is single-stream, some materials need to be excluded, such as plastic shopping bags.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

The single-stream recycling program allows residents to put all their recyclables into one bin instead of sorting them into several. She said the program's early success is due to the simple process.

"All the feedback we have gotten back has been very positive," she said.

The town is now throwing out 5.5 to 8.5 tons less trash a month, with the recycling program accounting for the difference.

Irish estimated the savings between $4,200 and $6,600 annually, because the cost of disposing of recyclables is about $32 per ton less than landfill trash, which costs about $65 a ton.

Single-stream recycling was not only a cost-saving move, but also a green initiative, Irish said.

It was also space-saving. The town has a small area for recycling and waste disposal bins, and she said single-stream recycling uses a single 6.5 ton bin instead of requiring several bins for sorting. The space the new system saved was used for a compost center.

Lawrence Farrington, 79, and his wife, Marcella, 78, said they appreciate the new recycling system.

"It's a lot easier. I like a lot that I don't have to sort," Lawrence said while dropping off their regular weekly load of trash and recyclables.

The recyclables are collected in the 6.5 ton bin at the Wilton Transfer Station and sorted at a Lewiston branch of Casella Waste Systems, a Vermont-based company. Before the town switched to Casella, Sandy River Recycling Association in Farmington handled Wilton's recycling for 20 years, Irish said.

"For us it was just a changing of the times. It was not by any means dissatisfaction with the company," she said.

Kaitlin Schroeder-- 861-9252
kschroeder@mainetoday.com

 

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