Less people are recycling, which means more in tipping fees paid to get rid of regular garbage, according to town officials, who are ready to partner with a company that vows to turn that scenario around.
The newly-approved 2011-12 town budget includes a $50,000 line item to hire the services of Recyclebank, a company that works with organizations around the country to help increase recycling rates.
The town makes money on the collection of recyclables, while it pays to get rid of regular garbage collected. With more people throwing out items that can be recycled, the tipping fees the town pays to dispose of the garbage increase, and the revenue from the recyclables decreases.
That scenario recently led to a request from the Public Works Department to the Legislative Council for an emergency transfer of $40,000 that in part was needed because of the disparity.
But now town officials are ready to address that, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said, beginning with the hiring of Recyclebank.
"They guarentee to increase recycling rates and lower tipping fees," Leng said. The first year's savings is estimated to top $100,000, he said, for a net savings of $50,000 after taking into account the $50,000 price.
The town also is going to introduce a new, larger recycling tote that will have embedded in it an electronic sensor, Leng said. When the bin is collected by the town's recycling contractor, they will scan the sensor, registering that the residence contributed recyclables, he said.
That way, the town can track who is recycling and who isn't, he said, and education efforts will be targeted to those not participating in the program.
But Legislative Council member Tom Rousseau said he knows first hand that recyclables don't always end up in the recycling truck. Occasionally those collecting garbage will also collect the recyclables, he said.
"I've seen them thrown into garbage trucks," he said.
"That is something we are dealing with," Leng said.