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Recycling center taking in a lot of material

May 28, 2020
The new recycling center has been a big success and really busy with the town looking at ways to maximize profits from the recyclables market.

Public Works Director Meghan Theriault reported on the recycling center as part of a regular report on her department during the selectmen's May 13 meeting.

Theriault said the new recycling center is running successfully and residents have bene happy with the "one stop shopping" at the new center.

"Things have been so busy, even with the Stay at Home order," Theriault said.

She said the police put a traffic counter at the front of the facility showing that it's busy in front and out back by the area for construction and demolition debris as well as grinding and crushing.

Since the recycling center opened they have baled more than 150,000 pounds of recyclable materials and shipped 85,000 pounds at no cost to the town, resulting in a little profit.

She said they are seeing a tough market for aluminum and plastics. The price for cardboard, however, had gone up and there is now money for mixed paper when the market was zero before.

She said the facility will continue to take Number 1, Number 2, Number 5, and Number 7 plastic and see if they can find a market for them, though if they can't she said they might start talking about going to Number 1 and 2 only.

Theriault said staffing is a major concern, which she said the selectmen are already aware of. The department has been supplementing one to two members of the highway staff a week at the center.

She has heard from Laconia that there have been an increase of Gilford residents going to their station who don't know the Gilford has its own, likely people who come up from other places like Florida.

The department will keep handing out flyers informing people about the center and Theriault said she would consider running a message on local access TV.

Selectman Gus Benavides said he knew of someone doing work on a property who had a lot of cardboard who said he knew the recycling center wouldn't take commercial waste. He said it was awful to think that much cardboard that could produce a profit for the town can't be turned in and asked Theriault if there was any way exceptions could be made. Theriault said if a commercial entity called and said they had a load of just cardboard they could come in and dispose of it. Theriault said something like this would be considered on a case-by-case basis if they could make a profit on it.

"That would be my two cents — say if there's a profit in it for us to bring in revenue for the town, I would think that's acceptable," Theriault said.

Theriault said one snag would be the ordinance that bans commercial disposal, though town administrator Scott Dunn said he thinks there is some flexibility. Benavides asked if his fellow board members would oppose this, getting a general response that there was no issue.

"If it's actually going to make money for the town why not?" said board Chair Chan Eddy.

Theriault said whoever wanted to dispose of cardboard would have to call solid waste supervisor Bruce Hewitt ahead of time and the cardboard would have to be uncontaminated.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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