Town ponders curbs on recycling

By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 04, 2019

Montville — Selectmen on Sept. 30 considered what the future of recycling in Montville might look like, considering new stipulations from Unity Area Regional Recycling Center about not accepting glass or most plastics.

Selectman Cathy Roberts wondered if the recycling center has a definite plan for the town to continue their partnership.

"If they hope to continue to exist, how does this fit with our programs and now being part of the new facility (Coastal/Fiberight) and having the option to single-stream (not having to separate items)?" she asked.

If the town is paying for UARRC's service, and most things cannot be accepted, there needs to be a conversation, Roberts said. The town currently pays over $11,000 to be part of the eight-member town collaborative.

Montville's UARRC representative Paige Zeigler said since the country of China stopped accepting recycled goods, the center has been looking at options. If the center does not take plastics or glass, Zeigler said, the reason is "they just don't have a market for them."

"We have the physical structure," Zeigler said. "I'd prefer not to lose it."

Zeigler, who is also a state representative, said the state is looking at ways to assist municipalities in continuing recycling programs and ultimately reducing the number of recyclables that wind up at Juniper Ridge, the state landfill.

Michael Carroll, executive director of the Municipal Review Committee, said recycling would increase by "co-mingling" of items in the single-stream model. The MRC is a nonprofit organization made up of 115 cities and towns that manage municipal solid waste issues.

Carroll suggested purchasing a municipal compactor to reduce the amount paid to haulers.

Shelby Wright, director of Community Services at Coastal/Fiberight, suggested splitting the use of Freedom's packer truck to compact recyclable materials. "They usually only fill their truck halfway," she said.

Zeigler, reading from the multi-town agreement with the recycling center, said that to leave UARRC, a town would need to give a year's notice of its intention, and because all the towns are part-owners, there most likely would be a reimbursement.

This issue will be decided, Roberts said, at the annual spring town meeting.

Zeigler added a lawyer will be needed. "This discussion is (going on) all over the state," he said.

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