Where has all the recycling gone?

Colin Powell, Castine Selectperson

November 7, 2018

As many people are no doubt aware of by now, the town of Castine will have to pay for our recycling for the remainder of 2018. Historically, Casella would pay the town for our zero-sort recycle bins, but a substantial shift in global recycling has hit the market hard, and the consequence for us is no longer having free recycling.

In order to maintain the status quo for now, our transfer station will not be charging residents, rather we will pay for the shift of our recycling stream from Casella to an incinerator service at Penobscot Energy Recovery Center (PERC) using funds already in our budget. But 2019 will be a different story. We are hopeful that the new waste processing facility Fiberight will be available to us early in January. Fiberight will be accepting recycling at a lower rate than PERC.

Regardless of the outcome for recycling, the realities of waste production suggest that while recycling things is good, the absolute best thing we can do is reduce the amount of waste we generate. This means simple things like using reusable water bottles, reusable snack bags, reusable grocery bags, and avoiding pre-packaged foods when possible. And as hopeless as such a change can sometimes feel, you can do things like weighing your trash every week to get a sense of how much you generate and then plot it week over week and try to get the number down. In order to make lasting change, you have to be able to measure the status quo first!