A worker uses a bales of recycling on a forklift to sweep the floor on Friday at ecomaine in Portland. The recycling center is capable of sorting 13-15 tons of recycling per hour. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Brunswick Town Council on Monday approved, 7-2, a 10-year contract with ecomaine to dispose of residential curbside waste and recycling.

The town will likely continue to contract with Casella Waste Systems for collection and transportation to ecomaine’s Portland facilities.

Town officials estimated in March that the combined cost of the contract with Casella and ecomaine would be about $1.29 million a year.

The exact annual cost is determined based on the amount of trash and recycling the town produces. According to Town Manager John Eldridge, ecomaine’s price per ton of trash is $81.50, and the price per ton of recycling fluctuates.

Brunswick had the option to contract solely with Casella, which would have saved an estimated $86,225 a year but would have abandoned the option to have their trash brought to a waste-to-energy incinerator. For an additional estimated $32,636 a year, Casella did offer the town guaranteed waste-to-energy disposal, instead of the landfill.

Council Chairman John Perrault and Councilor David Watson opposed the ecomaine contract.

Perrault objected to the extra cost, as well as the carbon emissions and impact on town roads incurred by Casella’s trucks as they make three daily trips from Brunswick to Portland.

“One thing we’re not looking at is that these trucks are not really designed for high-speed roadway traffic,” Watson said. “They’re designed for stop-and-go … and not 65-60 mph traffic.”

According to Recycling and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Jamie Ecker, choosing ecomaine could effectively lower the town’s municipal net greenhouse gas emissions by around 80%.

“I think it’s a great step forward in the transition of our solid waste management,” Ecker said. “It’s a complex issue that the town was faced with and it’s the first major change in the town’s solid waste collection and management system in almost 15 years.”

Ecker said the carbon emissions from transportation are minor relative to the emissions from the processing and disposal of the trash and recycling.

Including Brunswick, ecomaine now partners with 72 communities statewide. Some neighboring towns include Freeport, Pownal and Cumberland.

According to ecomaine Chairperson Mike Shaw, “Brunswick is a great fit for ecomaine environmentally, economically, and geographically.”

“We are delighted to welcome Brunswick and its residents to our member communities,” Shaw added.

Trash collection, transportation and disposal are funded through the general fund budget.

On April 1, Brunswick officially closed the Graham Road Landfill.

The contract with ecomaine is effective July 1. Until then, Casella will continue to manage disposal of the town’s waste and recycling.

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