LIVERMORE FALLS – With trash disposal jumping by 80 tons a year and the local recycling rate at 37.15 percent, the town manager is looking for ways to increase the efficiency of solid waste and transfer station operations.

The town’s 2005 recycling rate is down from a high of 41.6 percent in 2004. In 2001, it was at a low of 14.4 percent.

Town Manager Martin Puckett is also working with a budget of $184,372 to operate the transfer station, a shortfall of $31,027, for this year. An attempt to close the transfer station and have the trash and recyclables go straight to Jay was defeated at town meeting in June.

Selectmen gave him six months to operate the transfer station full time and see if recycling can be increased to decrease the amount of waste disposal fees the town pays.

“My No. 1 priority is to try and solve this,” Puckett said.

Last year, the amount to operate the Livermore Falls station and get rid of solid waste was $183,072.

One of the largest increases, he said, is municipal solid waste tipping fees.

Last year the town spent $117,000 for solid waste based on $78.50 per ton, he said.

“This year it’s jumped to $80.50 per ton,” Puckett said.

The town’s municipal waste is taken to Jay’s transfer station for disposal.

“Looking at the pattern of the past years, we generate 80 tons more of solid waste each year,” Puckett said.

Last year, the total of solid waste generated was .74 of a ton for each person, he said.

In 2005, 2,399 tons of trash were generated and of that 675.4 tons were recycled, he said.

Recyclables include milk jugs, cans, office paper, cardboard, mixed paper, No. 2 plastics, newspaper and glass.

Puckett said he is trying to find out why solid waste increases 80 tons each year – an increase of $6,440 a year under the new disposal rate.

“The recycling rates haven’t been increasing at the same rate of the solid waste,” Puckett said.

He has contacted the State Planning Office and Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments looking for options to increase the rate. He found out the town’s rate is on par with other Maine towns.

One option that came up is to more closely monitor the trash haulers hired by residents to pick up their trash and take it to Jay, he said.

The town pays tipping fees for solid waste for trash disposed of by town residents and businesses.

Three-quarters of the trash generated is handled by private haulers.

“I think we’ll have to monitor haulers and monitor what occurs at the transfer station,” Puckett said. “It’s not fun, and it’s not exciting, but we’re going to have to do inspections.”

That means making sure people are using clear plastic bags and checking bags to make sure people are recycling and haulers are enforcing mandated recycling.

Another option to increase recycling is to have a building where people could put good items they no longer want and someone could take it instead of throwing it in the trash.

Ultimately, the town needs residents and businesses to recycle more, he said.

Puckett said he’ll be looking at the ways other towns are disposing of trash and try and find innovative ways to make the operation more efficient.

“The board, myself and town employees are looking at ways to change the way we operate,” he said.

Puckett is interested in ideas from others and if people want to volunteer on a committee to come up with ideas for more efficient recycling and waste disposal.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.