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Sanbornton considers single-stream recycling

June 02, 2010
SANBORNTON — Single-stream recycling may be in Sanbornton's future even before it joins the rest of the Concord Regional Solid Waste Cooperative in sending recyclables to a new facility being built in Penacook.

John Thayer, director of Sanbornton's Department of Public Works, brought selectmen a proposal from Bestway Disposal of Belmont to initiate single-stream recycling in the town before the recycling center in Penacook opens.

Thayer said the move toward single-stream recycling now would allow residents the opportunity to transition into the program and begin a better recycling initiative as they await the co-op's construction, scheduled for completion in about a year.

Sanbornton currently maintains its own recycling initiative, baling the plastics, cardboard and cans at the transfer station. It limits which types of plastics can be recycled though, and the town has to make its own arrangements to get rid of the materials.

"We won't have to bale everything this way, and more things can go into single stream recycling," Thayer said.

He said space at the transfer station would be better utilized because single-stream recycling would only require one large bin for all materials to be placed in for pick-up, leaving more room for scrap metals. Thayer said Bestway has offered to transport the waste to their Belmont facility at a cost of $125 per haul and a maximum $20 per ton. Depending on the market for recyclables, the town could also receive some revenue from the sale of the plastics and other materials. A "worst case scenario" would see the town paying $9,653 for waste removal based on last year's figures of 157.65 tons.

Currently Sanbornton pays $75 more per trip to have waste trucked to Bethlehem at $48 per ton. The proposal from Bestway would save 20 percent over the contract with the Bethlehem incinerator and allow for single-stream recycling.

"I think that a pickup every week is too much and more than likely we'll only need one every other week," Thayer said.

In addition to the money and the space availability, he told selectmen the dump could probably open for more hours, and less employee time would be needed. Without having to bale recyclables and monitor what is thrown in the separate bins, the town could save approximately $20,000 in wages.

"We'd only need two part-time employees for 24 hours a week and a back hoe operator on Saturdays," he said.

He offered to take a survey to see if there would be a benefit to opening year round on Monday afternoons, all day Saturday and perhaps altering the Wednesday hours to be open until 6 p.m. and allow those who work a chance to visit the transfer station during the week.

"This would take some of the pressure off Saturdays, when we get really busy," said Thayer.

The contract would be open ended so the town could move to the co-op once it is up and running.

Selectman Steve Ober advised that residents would need to be educated on the changes if single-stream recycling at the transfer station was to occur.

Board Chairman David Nickerson said he felt a contract similar to what Bestway was proposing would be a good transition for the town and allow single-stream recycling to begin even sooner.

"As far as the environment, it's the best way to go," he said.

Thayer was asked by Selectman Andrew Livernois to investigate prices from other waste removal companies to see if Bestway is offering the best deal. He also requested a more detailed proposal from Thayer on the impact the changes would make on transfer station employees.

Thayer will return to the selectmen with other contract proposals in the next couple of weeks.

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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