Zero sort recycling now a possibility on Blue Hill Peninsula

BLUE HILL — Zero sort recycling, which has been on a wish list for many peninsula residents, has become a possibility.

With zero sort recycling, residents would toss all of their recyclables, including glass, into one bin. That bin would be taken to a recycling plant for sorting.

The decision on whether to offer the service rests with the boards of selectmen in Blue Hill and Surry, which operate the station.

Casella Resource Solutions had approached the board about offering the service earlier this fall.

The transfer station board had intended discuss the proposal further at a recent meeting but that time was taken up by a resignation tendered by transfer station manager Jeff Jewett.

“We were prepared to make that decision at our last meeting,” said Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz. “The idea would be to start in the spring because there’s an educational process that goes along with it.”

“I think a lot of people are in favor of giving it a try,” said Blue Hill Selectman Vaughn Leach. “With the type of people that are living in the five communities, the people that would be using it would be outstanding compared to how many are recycling now.”

One issue would be meeting a tonnage requirement, but Leach doesn’t think that would be an issue.

Currently, the transfer station doesn’t accept glass for recycling.

Leach said if one considers the people who recycle now but have to take their glass out, “that’s a vast amount of weight right there.”

Peninsula residents would drop all of their recycling into one container, which Casella would haul away and sort at one of its plants.

According to Casella’s website, the town of Holden increased recycling from 13 percent to 37 percent after starting a zero sort program.

In other business, the Blue Hill and Surry Selectmen met Friday in executive session to discuss what they might offer the outgoing transfer station manager to stay.

Jewett is leaving to take a higher paying position with family health insurance coverage at KidsPeace, Schatz said. “We had a notion that if we could get close to that offer, we could keep him.”

While everyone was in favor of offering Jewett more money to stay, the group could not come to a consensus on what to offer, Leach said.

Schatz said a vote to give Jewett a $6 to $8 an hour increase, which would allow him to pay for a family health insurance plan was tied: three opposed, three in favor.

Blue Hill Selectmen Vaughn Leach and John Bannister and Surry Selectman Steve Bemiss voted against.

Schatz and Surry Selectmen Bill Matlock and Dale Sprinkle voted in favor.

Schatz called the pay increase “substantial” but said “we’ve never had an amazing manager out there. If you have somebody that effective, it’s worth it.”

The selectmen have been advertising for the transfer station manager position and will continue until a replacement is found.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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