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Bristol voters to decide on recycling proposal


March 03, 2021
BRISTOL –Included on Bristol's 2021 Town Warrant is an $85,000 proposal to return recycling to the Town of Bristol, one of the 23 articles presented to voters this year that are asking for voter approval at the March 13 Town Meeting, which will begin at 9 a.m. in the Newfound Regional High School gymnasium.

In 2018, the Town of Bristol suspended their single stream recycling program as a result of what was sudden and unforeseen increases in the cost of single stream recycling in 2018, but hoped to one day bring it back to the community when it was more financially feasible.

Along with town officials, the Bristol Sustainability Committee has been watching recycling trends and believe now is the time to be more environmentally and fiscally responsible when it comes to lowering trash removal costs.

"Since that time [2018], the town and town residents have been researching recycling trends in the New England area. They examined costs involved in trash disposal and toured neighboring community transfer stations to learn what others are doing," said committee member Janet Metcalf.

As a result of that investigation, the request in Article 18 addressing recycling in Bristol, will be presented to the town's legislative body (voters) for their consideration.

The article calls for a one-time purchase of equipment that will allow the town to bundle corrugated cardboard (boxes) and sell it on the market for recycling. With that equipment, certain plastics, aluminum cans and mixed paper items are other potential revenue-producing items that the town could bundle and sell in the future rather than pay to haul it away.

The funding would include the purchase of a horizontal bailer and electrical hookup, the purchase of a skid steer for material handling, and the construction of a containment structure for the bailer. An appropriation of $32,500 for those expenses would come from the Transfer Station Revolving Fund, while $30,000 would be pulled from the Highway Equipment Capital Reserve Fund, which was established in 1968. The remaining $22,500 would be derived from general taxation, which would equal four cents/$1,000 tax valuation (for example, a home valued at $100,000 would see a one-time $4 increase on their tax bill).

Metcalf explained that this one-time investment is intended to help reduce the overall cost of trash disposal in the future, where an estimated 55-tons/year of bundled cardboard would be removed from the general waste stream. Projected savings for the town would be approximately $7,500 annually in hauling and tipping fees. Combined with revenue from selling bundled cardboard, this initial stage of the recycling project is forecast to pay for itself in about seven years.

Speaking as a resident and not on behalf of the committee, Metcalf said, "This is a good investment at a time when fees for waste removal continue to rise each year."

The article is approved by the Budget Committee (3-2-1), the Select Board (5-0-0), and the Bristol Sustainability Committee.

Martin Lord & Osman
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