Falmouth to implement new option for commercial recycling

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FALMOUTH — A new commercial recycling program will allow businesses for the first time to put recyclables out for curbside pickup.

Until the implementation of the new program in the next few months, the only option for commercial recycling is for businesses to pay a $5 annual fee to use the recycling bins at the town transfer station.

That arrangement began in October 2011 after the town implemented curbside residential recycling and moved the silver bullet bins to the transfer station from lots at Bucknam Road and Maine Turnpike Exit 53.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said the program will give businesses another option to recycle without sending an employee to the transfer station. The plan has the support of the town’s Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee.

“We want to make sure we’re offering as many opportunities for recycling as possible,” Poore said.

Randy Davis, the town’s budget and purchasing director, said businesses interested in participating in the program will contract with Pine Tree Waste to pay a $13 monthly fee for pickup. Additional bins will be available for about $10 monthly.

Pine Tree Waste will supply each business with a 60-gallon bin that can be stored inside or outside. Commercial collection will coincide with residential curbside pickup in the area.

“It will be very little work on our part,” Davis said. “… We’re hopeful this will encourage recycling for our businesses.”

As an incentive to get people on board, Poore said the town will subsidize three months of curbside pick up for the first 50 businesses that enroll, which could cost up to $2,000.

Councilor Bonny Rodden said during the April 9 council meeting that getting businesses to recycle has long been a focus of the recycling committee. She said the “terrific” new program will make it easier for businesses to recycle, and she hopes the idea takes root.

Council Chairwoman Teresa Pierce said she the program seems to offer businesses a great option at a reasonable cost.

“I’m very excited about being able to offer this to our businesses,” she said. “It sounds like a win-win.”

Since the silver bullet containers were moved last summer, the town has seen the elimination of illegal dumping and recycling by non-residents in Falmouth, and hauling costs have been reduced by 50 percent, according to Davis.

He estimated the town has saved 23 hours per week in labor costs: 15 hours of hauling and eight hours of cleanup.

Falmouth’s year-to-date recycling rate through February is 41.29 percent compared to 46.53 percent during the same time period last year. The town collected 1,009 tons of recyclables in 2010 and 994 tons in 2011.

Poore said business owners interested in curbside recycling may call Davis at 699-5337 for more information.

Gillian Graham can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or ggraham@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @grahamgillian.