Beginning on July 1 Biddeford will kick off a new single-sort, curbside recycling program. Since 1991 residents have brought their recyclables to the Biddeford Transfer Station for processing and marketing in an attempt to save on the collection cost.
Unfortunately, this system never produced the recycling numbers we were hoping for. The public works director is pleased to say, that for a drop-off system, Biddeford residents did well. However, it is now time to take the next step and increase our recycling rate, as well as increase our avoided cost - trash going to a landfill at $55 per ton.
Here are some of the basics:
• Homeowners will receive two containers provided by Casella Waste Systems - one 35-gallon container for trash and one 65-gallon container for recyclables. Provisions will also be available for high volume recyclers.
• Collection will still be weekly and collection of recyclables will now be at curbside. Collection of recyclables will occur on the same day trash is collected. The city will collect the trash and Pine Tree Waste will collect the recyclables. (The Department of Public Works) and Pine Tree Waste are evaluating the current routes and schedules to ensure collection is as efficient as possible.
• Trash in excess of the 35-gallon container will be addressed through a proposed pay-per-bag system. The new program will include assistance for residents who may have difficulty meeting the recycling program requirements.
• Ordinance changes are required to define the program, which will include public comment and review.
• The Biddeford Transfer Station will remain open to accept metals, batteries, brush, leaves, grass clippings, motor oil, tires, furniture, bulky waste, carpeting, mattresses, demolition debris and electronic waste, such as televisions, computers, computer monitors and computer accessories.
Acceptable recyclables for curbside collection include: newspapers, glossy inserts, magazines, telephone books, junk mail, clean tissue paper, cardboard, paper board, glass, catalogs, office paper, plastics – No’s 1-7, aluminum cans, metal cans, unmarked rigid plastics, milk and juice cartons and brown paper bags.
Trash will continue to be picked up manually by public works employees. However, Pine Tree Waste Systems will pick up our recyclables with an automated waste collection vehicle. Revenues from the recyclables will go to Casella until we reach a 50 percent recycling rate and then revenue sharing is scheduled to take place. Education will be the key for a smooth transition to this new solid waste management program.
Paul N. Therrien is chairman of Biddeford’s Solid Waste Management Commission.