Waste disposal industry talks trash, and how to recycle better

Talking trash
Talking trash(WABI)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 4:41 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine. (WABI) - Where does your trash go?

For many towns in the Bangor area, trash went to Coastal Resources of Maine in Hampden to be sorted, and hopefully, much of it recycled.

The facility is in millions of dollars of debt after rising expenses, and has put operations on hold since June.

Now much of the waste and recycling is winding up in landfills.

“The reality in the state of Maine which I think we’re doing a little bit better than the rest of the country is that 40% of our waste stream is still landfilled,” said Kevin Roche, CEO of Ecomaine.

Experts in the industry say if trash is not processed first, valuable dollars are lost.

Certain materials can be sold, or turned into green energy.

“If we do nothing, the bottom line is that we’ll be pouring more and more money into our landfills,” said Roche.

500,000 tons of certain recyclable items can earn more than $30 million.

To be able to recycle, avoid dumping money, and filling landfills, folks in the industry say we need to find a new way to do things.

“The business model for recycling to work is we have to realize as someone said earlier, recycling isn’t free,” said David Biderman, CEO of Swana.

Arguments were made for more investments by the state and others in the industry to sufficiently recycle trash in Maine.

“So the idea that we’ve been advocating for is in order to keep our landfills a reasonable size, we need to take those revenues that are entering our landfills and pour that revenue into the higher rings of the waste hierarchy,” said Roche.

Higher rings such as reducing waste, reusing what you can, and recycling materials that can have a second life.

As well as taking advantage of the money that can be earned through recycling.

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