WILTON — The shift to no-sort recycling at the Wilton Transfer Station is going well, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told selectmen Tuesday.
As of Sept. 22, all recyclable materials are dumped into the same bin, hauled to Lewiston and on to Massachusetts. The cost to the town is $210 per bin for transportation to Lewiston, Hollis Tyler, transfer station manager, said Wednesday. The recyclables are compacted so a bin can hold about six tons.
There's no more sorting cardboard, plastic, paper, glass, aluminum and tin, although they still want containers rinsed, he said. The sorting is done by Casella waste management company mostly by machines with weights, Irish said. People can watch a video of the process online at www.zerosort.com
Irish said people were a little apprehensive at first, wondering how it worked and how it was better. Now they can't get over the simplicity and are asking, "'this is too easy... what's the catch?'" she said.
While the town has been collecting about 13 tons of recyclables a month, the first week of no-sort resulted in 6.59 tons, she said.
The town currently has about 100 tons of garbage a month hauled to Norridgewock.
"The hope is to start to reverse it," she said so there's less garbage and more recyclables.
Starting Jan. 1, residents will have to use clear trash bags. Clear bags are currently available at several local stores, the town office and transfer station, Selectman Thomas Saviello said.
The cost to haul garbage bins to Norridgewock is $265.
The new zero-sort allows residents to recycle more plastics, numbers 1 through 7, Irish said. Caps can now be left on plastic cartons and laundry detergents.
There has to be a number on the plastic. Previously only number 2 plastics could be recycled.
The new system can not accept any plastic shopping bags. They tend to curl around the sorting machinery, she said.
"The town has recycled so well over the past 20-years that the idea is basically there," she said. "It's easier on the part of the person bringing items in."
Sorting paper from plastic and glass from cardboard is so ingrained in people's minds, the new system is easier but it's hard to get over the idea that it "just doesn't seem right," she admitted.
People in other towns with zero-sort say that even after doing it for a long time, it still doesn't seem right not to sort recyclables, she explained. They are just too well trained.