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Sanbornton gives single-stream recycling the nod

May 20, 2009
SANBORNTON — Single stream recycling brought a lot of debate to the floor at Sanbornton's Town Meeting last week.

Selectmen Chair Andrew Livernois and Joel Anderson of the Solid Waste Committee each took a turn explaining the program and why they felt it vital to enter into the Recycling Facility Associate Member Agreement. This agreement would allow the town to more readily recycle, lower tonnage to the Berlin incineration facility and be more responsible to the environment.

By becoming a member of the multi-town cooperative, it would broaden the range of items that residents could recycle and cut down on man hours at the transfer station. Currently only a limited amount of plastics are recycled and the town is responsible for separating and selling the items. Single stream recycling means that everything can be thrown into one container and shipped to a plant for separation and sales.

Some residents were concerned that there would be a loss of jobs at the transfer station. Livernois said that should a position end up being eliminated, the town would make every effort to find other employment for that person.

Andy Sanborn was skeptical to what the cost might be to tax payers. With no figures listed on the article, he felt as if he were being asked to "sign a blank check." He asked for someone to give him an estimate at least on what such a cooperative would cost.

Dave Nickerson, selectmen representative to the Solid Waste Committee, explained that there would be a cost of $30,000 down the road to purchase a compactor. Single stream recycling, he said, was not a money-making proposal for the town. He felt it was a great idea and the right thing to do, though.

Anderson explained that costs of selling recycled materials fluctuate with the market and there is not one set price involved. The bottom line was that it might cost $50/ton to dispose of the recycled goods should the town sign the RFAM, but it was cheaper than the $90/ton the town would pay to incinerate the same items.

Don Foudriat said that Sanbornton "missed the boat" years ago by not signing up with the Boscawen incinerator cooperative. Had they joined when the opportunity arose to do so, the town would now only be paying $40/ton for solid waste disposal. He urged voters to not make that mistake again with this proposal for single stream recycling.

The vote was close but in the end Article 15 passed, allowing the Board of Selectmen to sign the agreement with the Concord Regional Solid Waste/Resource Recovery Cooperative. There is a one-time option to back out of the cooperative.

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