The Municipal Review Committee, which represents the solid waste interests of 115 towns and cities in Maine, is now in position to purchase the closed recycling and waste-to-energy plant in Hampden, shown in 2019 when it was in operation. Courtesy of Fiberight/Coastal Resources of Maine

A committee representing the solid waste interests of 115 Maine communities plans to buy the closed Coastal Resources of Maine recycling and waste-to-energy plant in Hampden, as no qualified bidders have come forward to take control of the plant.

The nonprofit Municipal Review Committee, made up of officials from several municipalities, announced Wednesday that it and the receiver appointed to oversee the bidding process reviewed the financial and technical capabilities of interested buyers and the receiver determined — and the committee agreed — there were none qualified to buy the plant.

“As a result, the receiver informed the court an auction will not be needed,” the committee said Wednesday in an email. “We will now be moving forward on the sale to MRC under the terms of our ‘stalking horse’ bid, with the receiver seeking final approval of the sale from the court with a target to close on or before June 30.”

The committee in March said it planned to buy the plant for $1.5 million if no qualified bidders purchased it before June 30.

The committee will be busy finalizing closing documents and reopening plans for the facility and that will include reaching out to multiple stakeholders and potential partners, including operators and financial partners.

“We appreciate all of our members’ support as we close out this chapter and work diligently to get the Hampden facility up and running — soon under MRC ownership and direction to better position it to serve our members’ solid waste and recycling needs.”


The Hampden facility closed in May 2020 for financial reasons. It was formed by the company Fiberight to finance, run and operate it. While the plant is closed, about 25% of MRC members’ waste is taken to Waste Management in Norridgewock, and the other 75% goes to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington.

Bondholders had previously tried to sell the plant with help from the MRC, which owns the land on which the plant is located.

Central Maine communities that are members of the MRC include Albion, China, Freedom, Oakland, Palmyra, St. Albans, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Vassalboro. Many communities had been sending their waste to the Hampden facility as part of a long-range deal brokered by the MRC.

Committee members said in April that they planned to ask the member municipalities to help finance the cost to restart the plant if the group ended up buying the plant, as it would need $20 million to ensure it can restart and operate successfully.

The cost to construct the plant was about $85 million, with $52 million of that provided through bond financing, and those bondholders are the ones now in control of the plant. The trustee for the out-of-state bondholders is the U.S. Bank National Association. The other $30 million for construction was financed through private equity and those financiers have gone away since they lost their investment.

In January, the MRC board met to discuss seeking other ways to reopen the plant following failed, months-long efforts to find a qualified buyer. Discussions eventually led the board to position the MRC as a potential buyer.

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