Barnstable DPW to Enforce Recycling Changes Beginning This Weekend

BARNSTABLE – Over the past year, there have been significant changes to the global recycling market, resulting in major effects on recycling and waste collectors across the United States.  

The outlets for U.S. recyclables have overhauled their regulations and increased their enforcement, with some outlets shutting down. This has created stricter standards in the acceptance of recyclables.

“The worldwide recycling market was really put in upheaval over the last year when the recipient of most the U.S. recyclables, China, started limiting what they were accepting and effectively ceasing imports of most recyclables, in particular the single-stream recycling, which is when the paper and plastic and tin and everything goes together,” explained Dan Santos, the Director of Barnstable DPW.

“Because of that, the middle-men that take these recyclables from communities and bundle them up and get them overseas and stopped doing that work. So we saw recyclables piling up and then vendors going out of business, and it became very difficult and costly.”

Due to these changes, the Solid Waste Division has adjusted its operation on how recyclables are accepted at the Transfer Station & Recycling Center in Barnstable.

“This has become a difficult situation, so what we chose to do, effective October 1, is switch over to recycling that is separated. It’s called source separation, where you separate it at the home,” Santos said.

“What this does is it puts us in a better position to market the recycling.” 

Santos says that the DPW used to send it’s recycling to the City of New Bedford.

However, the city has also been feeling the effects of the sudden change in the worldwide market, as it’s been locked in a legal battle between trash and recycling vendor ABC Disposal.

The vendor has significantly raised fee for processing the city’s recyclables, which New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell argues is a violation of the contract between the two.

“Our price to get rid of recyclables was free under our contract with New Bedford Waste Services. We didn’t pay anything, used to make money, went to not paying anything, and now its $120 per ton, which is twice the price of getting rid of trash itself,” he said.

Beginning on December 1, all recyclables disposed of at the Recycling Center will need to be separated into designated containers,” Santos explained.  

These containers will be individually designated for corrugated cardboard (similar to shipping and Amazon boxes. Some items not accepted are soiled boxes or greasy pizza boxes); plastics (clean plastic jars, tubs, jugs and bottles. Some items not included are 5-gallon buckets, large kids toys, Styrofoam, plastic bags); mixed paper (paperboard, newspaper, mail, magazines, office paper); metal cans (clean aluminum, tin and steel food and beverage cans); and glass (clean clear and colored glass bottles and jars. Some items not included are Pyrex, window and automotive glass).

Sticker holders will be responsible for separating their recyclable items and disposing of them into the respective containers.

The largest concern with recyclables is contamination. The DPW asks sticker holders to clean and rinse any residue from all recyclables.

The DPW adds that it will be installing updated signs and will have increased personnel in the Recycle Center to assist those dropping of recyclables.

By TIM DUNN, News Center


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