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Recycling containers behind Town Hall to be removed May 20

On May 20, 2019, the recycling containers located behind the Town Hall will be removed. The town acknowledges that removing the containers is inconvenient for some, however changes in the recycling industry necessitate this decision.

Many of you have followed the news of changes in the recycling markets over the past year. The market for recycled materials such as plastics, paper, cardboard and metals has changed dramatically in both the value of the materials and in what is acceptable to the market. One of the more significant changes is in the quality of the materials accepted by the market, and the level of contamination (co-mingling of waste with recycled materials) that will be tolerated.

Previously materials were acceptable to the global recycling market at any level of contamination, but now, little-to-no contamination is the requirement. As a result of the changing market, ecomaine inspects all incoming recycled materials and judges the level of contamination in each load.

In the past there were no fees for recycled materials because they were generating revenues for ecomaine (the waste-management facility that processes Cape Elizabeth's solid waste and recycling). Due to the market changes, all ecomaine towns will begin paying a tipping fee for the disposal of recycled materials as of July 1. In addition, financial penalties will also be assessed on loads depending on the level of contamination in the recycled materials.

Over the past year the town has received reports from ecomaine documenting the level of contamination within the recycled materials. Review of contamination reports from ecomaine indicate that contamination levels in the unmonitored recycling containers behind Town Hall are between 10 to 25 percent monthly. The recycling containers at the Recycling Facility range from zero to 10-percent contamination.

As you may have seen in the news, many surrounding communities are ending the practice of employing the unmanned recycling containers based on the levels of household waste being found in the recycling as well as other non-recyclable materials.

The Town Council and the Recycling Committee have been monitoring the information from ecomaine on the rates of contamination over the past year and believe that this decision is in the best interest of the town. The Recycling Committee will also be performing additional outreach to inform the public of this change.

Matthew Sturgis
Town Manager

Recycling Bins to be removed from Town Hall parking lot May 20, 2019
The Recycling Committee announced the advent of recycling bins to the Town Hall parking lot in the April 17, 1993 edition of The Cape Courier

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