The Freeport Public Works facility on Hunter Road will be one of two locations in town with silver bullet recycling containers. Taylor Abbott / The Forecaster

FREEPORT — Two of the town’s “silver bullet” containers will be removed at the end of the month in a bid to save money and centralize recycling efforts.

Councilors voted unanimously June 18 to remove the containers at Doherty’s Market at 130 Wardtown Road, and at 86 South Freeport Road near the South Freeport Village Store for economic and environmental reasons, Town Council Chairwoman Sarah Tracy said.

Effective Aug. 1, recyclables will be accepted at silver bullet containers on Hunter Road in front of the Public Works garage; the police station at 16 Main St., as well as the transfer station on Hedgehog Mountain Road. Acceptable materials can also be dropped off at Winslow Park on Staples Point Road on a seasonal basis until fall.

The change will be in effect for a year and the council hopes to have a better solution for recycling than the silver bullets when the period ends.

The net savings from removing the recycling containers will be about $15,000, according to Tracy.

“Contamination has become a major driver of the rising cost of recycling,” she said, while Town Manager Peter Joseph said there have also been incidents of illegal dumping at all the silver bullet locations in town.

The Sustainability Committee has been working to create signs at the locations that have been eliminated and the remaining locations to help educate residents about proper recycling. At the June 18 meeting, Councilor Scott Gleeson suggested adding the threat of being cited for illegally dumping to the signs to “sharpen the behavior” of people who use the facilities.

If residents are found littering, they can receive a citation, but the town does not issue fines for improper dumping, according to Joseph, who said the Police Department should focus on more criminal activity.

The Sustainability Committee also sponsored an educational event hosted by Ecomaine on July 10, when residents were invited to learn how to avoid contaminating their recycling and how to reuse products and sort through waste.

“My job is to talk to folks and to help them understand items that we do and do not accept,” Katrina Venhuizen, environmental educator for Ecomaine, told the council. “I can definitely see the change happening with every program that I give.”

For instance, Venhuizen said, most people don’t know that plastic bags cannot be recycled, even if they have a recyclable “triangle” symbol. Instead, they should be reused or returned to a grocery store.

“Most people simply don’t know that they’re not doing it correctly, while some don’t care,” she said. “Ecomaine has certain materials that we can and cannot take because of our equipment. And changing the machinery would cost millions of dollars. (The issue) is a lot of misunderstanding and that is where education and good signage comes in.”

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