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Council eyes more formal structure for Bottle Shed distributions

At the request of one of the members of the Town Council, the council is slated to look at how deposits from returnable bottles left at the Recycling Center's Bottle Shed are distributed.

At their meeting Nov. 13, 2019, councilors referred discussion of the Bottle Shed Committee – an ad hoc committee that reviews applications for Bottle Shed proceeds from not-for-profit organizations benefitting Cape youth – to a future workshop. The discussion will include committee composition, appointments, and distribution of funds.

The referral was prompted by Councilor Chris Straw, who at the Nov. 13 meeting said he believed the three-member committee, organized through the town manager's office in 2015, should become a formal, standing town committee.

The committee meets annually to review applications and to distribute the year's proceeds from the Bottle Shed. Last year, $16,150 was distributed to 25 groups that applied for a share. [News Article] [Bottle Shed History]

The Bottle Shed was established at the Recycling Center in 1992 as a centralized "bottle drive" to benefit the youth of Cape Elizabeth. Each month, the group awarded the opportunity to sort returnables left at the shed were given the proceeds for that month.

"A couple of different things wound up happening to change the operating model," said Council Chair Jamie Garvin, who was chair of the Recycling Committee in 2014 when the committee-distribution model was approved. One thing was the introduction of CLYNK, which allowed groups easier redemption of returnables without having to sort.

The other was a vendor that accepted items at the Bottle Shed without presorting.

"My recollection was that that was all being done rather hastily with the shifting business model," Garvin said. Rather than close the Bottle Shed all together, the town adopted what Garvin called a "quickly stitched-together model, that now I think is appropriate to formalize and put some more structure around," he said.

The next council workshop is scheduled for Dec. 11