Cash for trash?

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On July 12, Robert Reed, chairman of Lewiston’s Solid Waste Task Force, was quoted saying, “I don’t see how [Casella Waste Systems] could double Lewiston’s [recycling] rate, but it makes sense if they offer incentives.”

Here is my experience.

After calling Lewiston’s Solid Waste program to ask for a second recycling container, I was told there was one-container limit per residence. Refusing to accept this answer, I contacted a manager who said “those are the limits.”

When asked the cost of disposing of a ton of garbage versus recycled material, he admitted it was substantially less for recycled material. He was sympathetic, but told me his hands were tied as his yearly budget only allowed him to buy and distribute 500 new containers annually for the entire city of Lewiston.

I was shocked.

I had believed that the reason mine was the only container on my block was because the residents were unwilling to take the time needed to recycle. Now I wondered how many of them even had recycling containers.

As a transplant from the West, I know that recycling can be a profitable enterprise for cities. Until it is made easy and containers accessible to every person with garbage, we will never know how many people are willing to recycle.

One thing I know for sure is that if people had to pay for their garbage, but recycling was free, the desire to recycle considerably increases.

Does anybody want it to come to that?

Pete Alberda, Lewiston

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