2015-07-17 / Front Page

Recycling shuffle for towns

Change at Kennebunk transfer station creates ripple effect
By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — Kennebunk’s new 10-year contract for recycling services may be good for Kennebunk, but it’s causing some heartburn for residents of Kennebunkport.

Effective June 29, Commercial Paving and Recycling Co. took over operation of Kennebunk’s transfer station, located at the town’s public works facility on Sea Road.

According to Sheila Matthews-Bull, chairman of the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen, her town had been paying $4,000 for the privilege of using the recycling center. However, that apparently came to an end with the change of vendors.

“If you use our bi-weekly curbside (service), the recycling is free,” Public Works Director Michael Claus told Kennebunkport selectmen at their July 9 meeting. “But if you wish to go up to the recycling center in Kennebunk, you’re going to get charged.”

“We were unaware of that,” Town Manager Laurie Smith said. “We received several phone calls and quickly cleared that up.”

However, that solution only resulted in what Smith described as a “grace period” granted by Kennebunk until Aug. 1.

With Kennebunkport residents also no longer able to dump leaf and grass clippings at the Kennebunk Transfer Station without incurring a fee, selectmen in Kennebunkport are in search of a permanent fix.

While town residents can still have their recycling picked up by Oceanside Rubbish, the company does not service private roads. Additionally, Smith theorized, some residents may recycle more than Oceanside can handle on a bi-weekly schedule, given the relative ease of the single-sort system.

One possibility, Smith said, would be to contract with Oceanside to maintain one or two containers at the Kennebunkport Public Works Department on Beachwood Road. An 8-yard dumpster can be rented for $20 per month, Smith said, while the tipping fee — the price for Oceanside to empty the dumpster and cart the contents to ecomaine waste-to-energy facility in Portland — would be $35 for each run. Given each dumpster would probably need to be emptied twice per month, Smith guesstimated the annual cost to maintain the service would run to “at least $2,000.”

“Maybe we’ve been paying them for nothing,” Matthews Bull, noting the disparity between that presumed cost and the fee paid to Oceanside, when it ran the Kennebunk facility.

However, there could be additional costs of maintaining a local transfer site, such as installation of security cameras, if it is discovered that residents routinely drop things other than normal recyclables into the dumpsters.

Selectmen elected to take no immediate action. Instead, Smith will use the time until the next board meeting on July 23 to try and determine how many Kennebunkport residents actually haul their recyclables to the Sea Road station.

“We want to collect data over the next couple of weeks,” she said. “We want to get some idea about how many people it is, and what the impact is, so we can make a better decision.”

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