Recycling firm 'quits' Goffstown
By JILLIAN JORGENSEN
- The town has started hauling its own recyclables, after the company hired to do so stopped picking them up, alleging that the loads were contaminated with municipal solid waste.
Integrated Paper Recyclers, based in North Andover, Mass., has the contract to haul and process the town’s recyclables. But on June 1 they sent the town a letter saying plastic bags and sheeting in the mixed recyclables were jamming up their equipment, and that other waste was mixed in with recyclables.
“They essentially stopped collecting,” Carl Quiram, director of the Department of Public Works, said.
The town’s contract with the company said plastic bags and sheeting can be included in mixed recyclables, Quiram said.
Quiram said the company went from picking up recyclables four days a week to just three pick-ups between June 3 and June 17. And despite moves from the department to get the waste out of recycling bins, on June 22 the company informed the town they would no longer pick up recyclables.
At a meeting of the Board of Selectmen, chairman Scott Gross said the company was violating the terms of their contract.
“IPR did not really follow the contract,” he said during the meeting. Gross pointed to time parameters in the contract for ending service.
Christine DeRosa at IPR confirmed that the company had stopped picking up the recyclables, but said the company was meeting with the selectmen at the end of the month to discuss the contract.
“We’ve put it on a hiatus to see if they can clean it up just a bit,” she said.
She said the contamination went beyond plastic bags.
“It was horrible contamination,” she said. “There were a lot of plastic bags…there were car parts and jump ropes, there were just numerous things”
But Quiram said no other companies have complained about contamination.
“I’m not convinced that the contamination issue is as bad as IPR makes it sound. Casella has basically the same [equipment] and they haven’t had any problems with our stuff,” he said.
DeRosa said IPR would “absolutely” like to work things out with the town.
“We felt horrible in leaving them, and walking away from them, but our facility at that time just couldn’t handle it,” she said.
In the mean time, Goffstown’s facility for holding the recyclables is small, Quiram said, so they have had to find other ways to move the material out of town. Since the town hauls its own solid waste, they already had trailers and drivers. They began bringing the recyclables to a Cassella Waste System’s Charlestown, Mass., facility.
“It started as a way to relieve the pressure on our building so we didn’t have to throw the material away,” Quiram said.
The town has not signed a contract with Cassella yet. Instead, they pay the going rate to drop off recyclables. Right now, that’s about $25 a ton.
The town paid a higher rate to Integrated Paper Recyclers, but it included hauling.
“The town of Goffstown has to pay an outside person less going to Charlestown than we do going with IPR,” Quiram said. “But we have to do the hauling.”
The driver is already being paid, Quiram said, but at the selectmen’s meeting some pointed out that now time previously devoted to other tasks must be spent taking the recyclables to Charlestown. For that reason, the selectmen voted Monday to try to open a dialogue with IPR to re-establish the contract.
“If we can get an arm around this contamination issue, clearly IPR is the least expensive option for us,” Gross said at the meeting. “I would like to see if we can get IPR back on track.”