WATERVILLE — The city will officially launch its new pay-as-you-throw trash collection system on Sept. 8, which will require residents to buy special trash bags and put both trash and recyclables at the curb.

The 30- and 15-gallon purple bags are being supplied by WasteZero, of Portland, and will be sold at 16 businesses including Hannaford and Shaw’s supermarkets, Joseph’s Market and Save-A-Lot.

The 30-gallon bags sell for $10 for a roll of five bags, and the 15-gallon bags are $10 for a roll of eight.

Kevin Joseph, owner of Joseph’s Market on Front Street, said he started selling the bags last week. He said he thinks the new trash collection system will help reduce the waste stream.

“I know some people are opposed because of the (cost of bags), but I’m thinking, hopefully you’ll find less rubbish kicking around,” Joseph said Monday.

Joseph sells the bags, which are on a shelf next to the cash register in his store, at no profit.

“They’re taking up shelf space we could use for something else, but I believe in this so much that I’m willing to do that,” he said.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said Monday that people should call retailers to make sure trash bags are in stock before they go to buy them.

“A lot of stores are getting them today,” she said Monday.

On Thursday and Friday, the city mailed sample trash bags to residents and included information about recycling and pay-as-you-throw, according to Dubois.

“Everybody got two free bags — a small and a large,” she said. “They got detailed information about the recycling program.”

The city directed Sullivan Disposal, of Thorndike, to start picking up recyclables at the curb July 21 as a way to help residents acclimate to the program before the Sept. 8 launch of pay-as-you-throw.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

As part of the new program, residents on their regular trash collection day should place trash in the purple bags at the curb and may place the bags in the same trash cans they have always used, according to Public Works Director Mark Turner.

Trash will continue to be picked up every week of the month under the city’s pay to throw rubbish collection policy, but recyclables will be  picked up during the first and third full weeks of the month, on residents’ regular trash collection days.  They should place recyclables — unsorted — in a rigid container clearly marked “recycling/recyclables” and place it at the curb as well. They may use more than one container.

Turner said it is critical that people put both trash and recyclables at the curb by 7 a.m.

He said the recycling program has been very successful.

“On average, we’re getting a 60 percent participation rate throughout the city,” he said. “In some neighborhoods it’s 75 to 80 percent — this is residential participation.”

Turner said about 16 tons of recyclable materials are being collected each week.

“About a full day’s trash is now going into recycling,” he said. “That’s just based on the three weeks we’ve been doing it.”

Because of that amount of recycling being collected, Shredding on Site on Armory Road no longer is taking recyclable materials from city residents and smaller businesses that had been taking them there, he said.

TRASH OR RECYCLABLE?

Materials that may be placed at the curb include cardboard, newspapers, magazines, mail, catalogs, paper bags, office paper, envelopes, phone books, milk and juice cartons, plastic bottles and milk containers, yogurt containers, grocery and shopping bags, and all rigid containers marked with numbers 1 through 7.

Items that may not be recycled include garbage, diapers, batteries, clothing, food, cat litter, light bulbs, paper napkins and towels, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, potato chip bags, frozen vegetable containers, snack or sandwich bags, needles, sharps and Ziplock bags.

The city’s Public Works Department will pick up trash, as it has done all along. Sullivan’s will pick up recyclables and take them to Ecomaine in Portland where they will be sorted.

Hazardous waste including anti-freeze, batteries, fuel, paint and pesticides should be disposed of on Hazardous Waste Day, held the second Saturday in October. Preregistration is required and is conducted in September through the public works.

Residents may take items such as tires, computers, wood, scrap metal, asphalt shingles, thermometers, small electronics and construction debris to Pine Tree Waste on Airport Road. Asphalt may be taken to Pike Industries, Inc. in Fairfield. Lead acid batteries, tires, appliances, propane tanks and chlorofluorocarbons may be taken to One Steel Recycling in Oakland. Antifreeze may be taken to Maine Lubrication Services, Inc. in Portland, according to the city’s website.

Prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, ointments, lotions and liquid medications may be taken to the Police Department on Colby Street and dropped in a special box inside the lobby.

City officials have made it clear that people who do not want to take part in pay-as-you-throw may contract with private haulers for trash removal.

Apartment buildings with more than four units must continue to dispose of trash by private haulers.

The city, WasteZero and Ecomaine held public workshops on the new trash collection system and gave away hundreds of blue Ecomaine recycling bins. The city since then has given away more than 1,200 bins.

Besides Joseph’s, Hannaford and Shaw’s, the city arranged with the following retailers to sell the special trash bags: Aubuchon Hardware; Big Apple, Elm Street; Big Apple, Main Street; Circle K/Irving, Kennedy Memorial Drive; Cumberland Farms, College Avenue; CVS, Kennedy Memorial Drive; J&S Oil, Kennedy Memorial Drive; Mobil on the Run, Pleasant Street; Rite Aid, Main Street and Ron’s Variety, Summer Street.

Hannaford stores are at Elm Plaza off Upper Main Street and at JFK Plaza off Kennedy Memorial Drive; Shaw’s is at Shaw’s Plaza, also off Kennedy Memorial Drive; and Save-A-Lot is on The Concourse downtown.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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