Not recycling now carries a fine for Cape Elizabeth residents

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Put a tin can, a newspaper or a plastic grocery bag in the town trash hopper and you could face a hefty fine starting July 8.

Under Solid Waste Ordinance changes adopted by the Town Council in June, violators of the new rules could be liable for fines between $200 and $3,000.

During the process to adopt a model ordinance generated by ecomaine, the municipal waste management company, the council accepted a Recycling Committee recommendation to add mandatory recycling to the transfer station rules in the hope of reducing one of the town’s largest expenses.

Waste disposal costs the town about $650,000 annually; disposal through ecomaine costs $180 per ton for trash, but only $40 per ton for recycled materials.

By making recycling mandatory – and hiring a part-time recycling educator to work at the transfer station – the town hopes to increase the recycling rate by 25 percent, which Public Works Director Bob Malley said could potentially save about $30,000 a year.

That savings takes into account the $10 per hour wage for eight hours of work a week by the recycling educator. Malley said the educator is expected to be hired this month.

The educator, he said, will assist the two regular transfer station attendants by educating citizens about the town’s recycling program, making sure loads are segregated into refuse and recyclable materials, and directing people to appropriate collection points at the transfer station.

“We are not planning on opening up bags,” Malley said, “but are more concerned with making sure that visible materials get placed in the proper areas.”

The new rules were adopted by the council despite questions from some residents in a public hearing earlier this year about whether the rules are enforceable.

A list of materials and waste that can be recycled is posted on the town Web site.

Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or

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According to a new waste management ordinance, recycling is now mandatory in Cape Elizabeth. Though transfer station attendants and a soon-to-be-hired recycling educator will not open trash bags for inspection, people who violate the ordinance could face fines of $200 to $3,000.

Items deemed recyclable by ecomaine, the municipal waste management company, include:

• Paper: cardboard, newspapers and junk mail, books, telephone books, magazines, paper bags, window envelopes, file folders, clean paper plates and pizza boxes, empty drink containers including milk and juice cartons, gift and cereal boxes, and wrapping paper. But not paper napkins, paper towels, fabric or clothing.

• Plastic: All empty containers marked Nos. 1-7, plastic grocery and shopping bags marked No. 2 or No. 4, water bottles, detergent bottles and milk jugs. But not vinyl; bubble wrap; Styrofoam; Tyvek; toys; diapers; plastic wrap or film; snack, sandwich or bread bags; trash bags; frozen food bags, or hazardous waste containers.

• Metal: empty tin cans, empty aerosol cans, empty aluminum cans, foil, pots and pans. But not hypodermic needles or sharp objects; gas or propane containers, or universal waste (computers, televisions, batteries).

• Glass: all empty bottles. But not light bulbs, windows, sharp objects or universal waste.

For more information about recycling, see the Recycling Pages on the Cape Elizabeth Web site and