August 14, 2009
Selectmen get tough on recycling


GOFFSTOWN - The Board of Selectmen Monday night expressed their support for town officials to take strict action against for those who repeatedly mix municipal solid waste – more often known as trash – in with their recyclables.

The board said they would stand behind Director of Public Works Carl Quiram in taking away a resident’s blue recyclable container and green trash container after repeated violations of Goffstown’s mandatory single-stream recycling program.

“It’s hurting our entire community,” Scott Gross, chairman of the Board of Selectman, said during a meeting last night. “This is intentional,” he added about some repeated cases.

Goffstown has mandatory, curbside, single-stream recycling. That means trash is kept in one container, which is green, and mixed recyclables in another, which is blue. The trash and the recyclables cannot be mixed.

The town’s recyclable hauling contract with Integrated Paper Recycling was terminated because of “contamination” of the recyclables. But that was largely due to the inclusion of plastic bags and plastic film – which were formerly allowed, but were jamming sorting equipment.

The company had alleged that about 20 percent of the loads of recyclables were contaminated with trash.

“That’s not a small percentage of the population,” Selectman Nick Campasano said. “That’s a big problem.”

But Quiram said many of those people were just confused about the plastic bag rule, and Selectman Phil D’Avanza pointed out that he had been warned for putting plastic bags and film in his blue container in an effort to recycle everything possible. A smaller percentage of the population, however, is just not following the rules about separating recyclables from trash, despite warnings, Quiram said. 

Quiram said the department has “more or less” been taking away the containers from people who are repeatedly, and knowingly, violating the laws. When the containers are taken away, the resident would then become responsible for bringing the trash and recyclables to the transfer station.

Quiram said the department had discretion to give a warning or two before stopping pick-up. He said he would look into for how long the town would take away the bins from those who want them back – possibly returning them after review by the Solid Waste Commission.

Taking away just one container would only lead to further mixing of waste and recyclables, Quiram said.

“My intention is that they both go away at the same time, because recycling is mandatory. And if you take away the blue container [for recycling], where’s the recycling going to go?” he said.



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