KENNEBUNKPORT – Recycling will resume in January, following a unanimous vote by selectmen on Thursday, Sept. 24.
The town had scrapped recycling at the end of August 2019, after costs increased, and there were no additional budgeted funds to pay for the program.
The new curbside recycling program will begin on Jan. 12. Pine Tree Waste, a division of Casella Waste Systems, will pick up recycling at curbside every other week through August 2024.
The town will pay Pine Tree Waste $66,026 to pick up and haul for recycling to ecomaine from January through Aug. 31 – a total of 17 weeks. From Sept. 1, 2021 through Aug. 31,2022, the town will pay $103,000; $105, 060 in the following year, and $107,161 in the third full year of the contract, which expires Aug. 31, 2024
Ecomaine will charge the town $95 per ton.
The single-sort recycling program allows Kennebunkport residents to collect paper, cardboard, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and hard plastic containers # 1-7 in one container for recycling at curbside.
Residents who need more information about sorting recyclables from trash can visit ecomaine’s website, ecomaine.org.
Ecomaine spokesman Matt Grondin said the company also employs full-time education staff, who can provide presentations and programs to residents and students in Kennebunkport at no cost, to help support proper waste management.
Public Works Director Mike Claus told selectmen there are financial implications for the town – the contract has a contamination fee that escalates, depending on the amount of unrecyclable material is deposited. Claus said there is a cost share for recycling if expenses go up for ecomaine if recycling markets crash. There is also a cost involved if the town does not reach a 15 percent minimum recycling rate.
“Our goal is significantly above 15 percent,” said Claus.
Selectwoman Sheila Matthews-Bull said it is a tough financial year for the town, and noted the extra expense if contamination proves to be significant.
“I’m not against recycling, but it’s a lot of extra money in town if people don’t cooperate,” she said.
Selectman Michael Weston said those whose recycling is contaminated will get a warning as part of the process.
“Ecomaine will work with us,” said selectman Ed Hutchins.
According to Grondin, if a load of recycling is contaminated 3 to 5 percent, the town receives a warning; 6 to 10 percent contaminants per volume incur a $35 per ton fee, escalating by $10 per ton to 26 percent contaminants, which incurs a $75.50 per ton fee.
“We’re actively working with the town’s Recycling Committee to provide as much education as possible to residents, starting this fall and running well into the program’s start, in order to keep those contamination rates down,” said Grondin.