September 23, 2008

Westbrook to Get Free Recycling


The City Council approved a deal with a waste hauler Monday that will give residents free curbside recycling next year.

The 20-year agreement calls for Casella Waste Systems to provide free recycling services in exchange for the city's agreement to extend a sewer line on County Road to a site where Casella plans to build a solid-waste facility.

"This is a winner," said Mayor Bruce Chuluda, who has been trying to boost the city's recycling efforts since he took office three years ago. "This allows residents who want to be green to do it in an easy way."

Westbrook's recycling rate has trailed those of neighboring communities.

According to a report prepared last year by the city's ad hoc committee on solid waste and recycling, Westbrook's rate was 6 percent, while Portland, Falmouth, Windham and Gorham all had rates greater than 30 percent.

Chuluda advocated curbside recycling earlier this year, in conjunction with a pay-per-bag trash system, but the proposal failed to gain support on the City Council.

According to the deal with Casella, the city will receive the recycling service for free, a saving of $540,000 annually. Pine Tree Waste, which will provide the service, plans to start a year from now.

In addition, Casella will reduce the fees that the city pays for disposal of regular trash, from $98.50 per ton to $68.50 per ton, a saving of $55,000 annually.

The cost of extending the sewer line is about $250,000, and other property owners on County Road will have access to it.

The new solid-waste facility will process demolition materials taken from buildings. Casella expects it will be in operation by 2010.

Casella is prohibited from building a trash incinerator.

The Westbrook Planning Board and the state Department of Environmental Protection have approved the project already, and the proposal received support at a community forum last week.

Only one neighboring property owner raised concerns, according to Councilor Michael Foley.

The council's vote on Monday was unanimous and occurred without debate or comment from the public.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

[email protected]

Originally published by By TOM BELL Staff Writer.

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