CLINTON — A new recycling exchange store is set to open on Friday at the Clinton Transfer Station, a project that Town Manager Earla Haggerty bills as “community recycling” and that, she argues, suits the purpose of the transfer station and does not violate her prohibition against loitering.

“A ton of towns now have gift shops at the transfer stations,” Haggerty said when she pitched the idea during a special meeting on Sept. 9. “You bring something and you take something …”

The exchange shop was created as a way to cut down on the cost of waste and to encourage “community recycling,” Haggerty said Tuesday.

A variety of household items line shelves Wednesday at the Clinton Transfer Station’s new recycling exchange shop. The shop is set to open Friday.

“The board got together and thought about how to make our tipping fees less expensive,” she said. “To do that we have to pull things out of the waste stream, but it’s also about making the transition from the facility being a dump to being a recycling center.”

Haggerty released a statement this week mapping out the definition of community recycling in more detail.

“All well managed and successful recycling exchange shops researched for this project gave credit for much of their success to having great volunteer intake coordinators with an interest in practicing community recycling,” the statement said. “Beyond the responsibility of ‘picking & choosing’ items acceptable for the shop and keeping the shop tidy, these individuals look out for the needs of our most vulnerable residents. If there is a house fire, volunteers take usable household items and clothing to the family, perhaps an elderly citizen could use the cane or walker that just came in that day …”

In addition to the recycling exchange shop, Haggerty has worked to give residents the chance to recycle items that may not be eligible to put in the shop. Residents can bring blankets, towels, animal toys, pet carriers, leashes and scratching posts to the station for the Waterville Humane Society to collect. Returnable bottles and cans that used to be used to buy dog treats will now be donated to the Clinton Food Bank and to make up holiday food baskets for Benton residents.

The town is in contact with vendors and state agencies to develop plans to dispose of wet paint, fire extinguishers and batteries at no cost or at a reduced cost from what the town is currently paying to dispose of them, Haggerty said.

Haggerty plans on applying for a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection in the spring to continue developing the facility.

“If something doesn’t work, we’ll evolve and we’ll change it,” Haggerty said. “We’re just trying to think outside the box and set up a unique center for recycling … we need ideas from the communities and volunteers that will make this project stronger.”

During a selectmen’s meeting last month, one community member voiced his concerns about the plan to build the shop.

Kennels are among the items displayed Wednesday at the Clinton Transfer Station’s new recycling exchange shop. The shop is set to open Nov. 1.

Mark Hachey, the brother of former transfer station director Mike Hachey, said that the exchange shop seemed to violate a policy against loitering at the dump that Haggerty implemented in August.

“You (Earla) made a big point about how it’s not safe to loiter at the dump,” Hachey said. “How is it going to be safe to have all those people going up to the recycling exchange? You made the point about it being dangerous. Is it safe to be up there? You’re sending a lot of mixed signals.”

The debate over loitering at the transfer station began in August when Mike Hachey and his wife went to the facility to collect signatures for a petition to get him reinstated as the director of the dump after he was fired in June. When the two were told they weren’t allowed to collect signatures at the facility, they voiced their outrage to Haggerty at a meeting on Aug. 13.

“When Mike and I went up there, we were told we had to leave and that we couldn’t collect signatures at the dump,” Mrs. Hachey said.

Haggerty explained at that meeting that the Hacheys were turned away from the facility because of a new policy against loitering at the dump after she assessed safety risks.

When Mark Hachey voiced his concerns in September, Haggerty explained that patronizing the store didn’t qualify as loitering because the facility was being used for its intended purpose, unlike the signing of petitions.

“The difference is if you’re there to dispose of something, you’re there for the purpose of the facility,” Haggerty said. “We don’t have social activities up there. … If you go there to drop your trash and you want to go to the swap shop, that’s not loitering.”

The exchange store will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday but those hours are subject to change.

Bicycles are lined up Wednesday at the Clinton Transfer Station’s new recycling exchange shop. The shop is set to open Nov. 1.

The shop will accept the following items: small kitchen appliances, cookware, dishes, silverware, trinkets, TVs, VCR and DVD movies, lamps, picture frames, wall decorations, vacuums and carpet cleaners, rugs and carpets, clothing that isn’t torn or dirty, hand tools, electric tools, lawn and garden tools, books, bicycles, sports equipment, seasonal decorations, curtains, table cloths, complete board games and puzzles, wooden furniture and outdoor furniture.

“Dishes, knick-knacks, books. … I know whenever I’m done with something and my daughter doesn’t want it, I take it to Goodwill,” Haggerty said on Sept. 9. “A gift shop would reduce the tonnage of things we don’t want in our waste stream and it would make things more interesting.”

The shop will not accept the following items: computers, printers, mattresses or box springs, upholstered furniture, helmets or hard hats, baby furniture, ripped or soiled clothing, chipped or broken glass trinkets or china, oil or gasoline containers, propane containers, magazines or newspapers, used toiletries or cosmetics, weapons or ammunition, toy weapons, building materials or auto parts.

Haggerty emphasized the shop won’t be accepting baby items because a recalled item may make its way into the shop, which would be unsafe to pass on.

The lists of items are subject to change as the program develops. All donations will be set aside for processing by volunteers who will ensure the safety and quality of the items placed on the shelves.

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