WINSLOW — Changes to the town’s recycling system are afoot. Starting Dec. 1, Winslow residents and businesses will no longer bring their recycling to the library, but to I Recycle in Waterville.

The Town Council unanimously approved the decision at its meeting last week.

Town Manager Mike Heavener said that mixed-use loads had been contaminated with nonrecyclable materials “very frequently” and that the system was no longer cost-effective.

“We’re paying more in an effort to try to recycle, but we can’t recycle because of what’s being thrown into the bins,” Heavener said.

The town’s recycling is ultimately transported to ecomaine in Portland for processing. Ecomaine charges extra fees if deliveries contain over 5 percent of nonrecyclable material or contamination. Global buyers of ecomaine’s recyclables – mostly China – once accepted contamination rates of up to 40 percent, but raised the market standards this year, which necessitated the fees.

Central Maine Disposal maintains and empties the recycling containers at the town’s library. Heavener said that if trash is spotted in the recycling bin, the entire bin gets hauled to the landfill instead of to ecomaine.

The town pays $4,040 a month to offer its current zero-sort recycling program. Using the I Recycle facilities will cost $1,200 a month, saving Winslow an estimated $34,080 annually.

At I Recycle, individuals must sort their recyclable materials by type and an attendant will be present to help advise and prevent trash from getting mixed in. I Recycle is located on Armory Road. Winslow residents will not need a sticker to use the facility.

“I had my wife do some undercover work. She took some stuff over just to see if it was user-friendly, and she liked it,” Heavener told a small audience at the council meeting.

I Recycle is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Councilor Jerry Quirion voiced concern that individuals with traditional work hours might have difficulty making it to the facility during operational hours.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t use it. I’m just saying that’s one thing that’s going to be hard,” he said.

The dumpsters will be removed from the library lot by Nov. 30.

“I think, like anything else, that we have to try things (and) learn from it,” said Councilor Ken Fletcher. “Forces outside of our control change, and we’ve gotta be able to adapt.”

 

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