Beginning Jan. 1, residents in Benton and Clinton no longer will have to sort their recyclables.

Voting unanimously Tuesday night, the Clinton Board of Selectmen approved a measure to switch to single-stream recycling and hire Casella Resource Solutions to take its recyclables to its Lewiston resource station.

The measure is contingent on the Clinton board approving a contract with Casella at its next meeting Dec. 9.

The measure comes as the Benton Board of Selectman, which shares a transfer station with Clinton, consider the same change as a means to increase recycling and decrease disposal costs for solid waste.

Officials with both towns estimated that if the move increases recycling from the current 13 percent of total volume at the Clinton Benton Transfer Station to 20 percent, they’ll save a combined $5,000 a year.

That saves the towns about $70 per ton that isn’t trucked to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington, said Casella Assistant General Manager Jim Dunning.

A long-standing agreement between the two towns allows Clinton to negotiate contracts unilaterally at the transfer station, so the Benton board must sign off on the change at its next meeting or find someplace else to haul its solid waste.

The shift also expands materials that can be recycled in the two towns to include plastics No. 1 through No. 7 as well as semi-rigid plastic such as lawn furniture and blister packaging.

Residents no longer have to remove caps, officials said. Other recyclables include glass, steel, aluminum, paper and cardboard.

Dunning said Casella will mail postcards to residents advising them of the change and providing further details before Jan. 1.

Unlike pay-as-you-throw programs, which charge residents for every bag of garbage they throw away, the single-stream program relies on residents voluntarily taking advantage of easier recycling.

Clinton Board Chairman Jeffrey Towne and Selectman Randy Clark said they plan to organize public informational gatherings in January to instruct the public further. Benton Selectman Antoine Morin said he hopes that shifting to single-stream recycling will make recycling easier for residents, reducing solid waste costs.

Towne and Clark said the board chose Casella over rival ecomaine, based in Portland, because Casella accepted more materials and because the trucking fees were less — $135 per container versus $300.

Clark said the change also will alleviate the need to continue buying recycling equipment at the transfer station and allow the town to use existing buildings at the station to cover equipment.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @ebelanger


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