PORTLAND — Local towns recently won eco-Excellence Awards for their contributions to preserving local ecology. The awards are given annually by ecomaine, a municipally-owned nonprofit organization, which owns and operates the only single-sort recycling facility in Maine, a landfill/ashfill site and a waste-to-energy plant that produces electricity. 

The following were honored: 

Readfield/Wayne Solid Waste and Recycling Committee and Transfer Station employees Glen Hawes and Michael Morang; Michael Costello, supervisor for the Monmouth transfer station; Telstar teachers Melissa Prescott and Sarah Savage; and Poland Transfer Station Supervisor Marvin Larrabee.

For more than a year, the volunteer members of the joint Readfield/Wayne Solid Waste and Recycling Committee analyzed the potential costs and benefits of switching from a separated-and-bailed recycling operation to single-sort. They brought their findings to both towns’ boards of selectmen and successfully urged both to approve co-fund the change.

Transfer Station employees Glen Hawes and Michael Morang were honored with awards for going above and beyond the normal course of their work assignments. Their nominations came from the Readfield/Wayne Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, which said that the two men tirelessly answered questions from the public and educated those with doubts.

Michael Costello was honored for consistently promoting Monmouth’s single sort recycling by explaining to residents how the system works and for bringing attention to items that can be recycled.

Melissa Prescott, a teacher at Telstar Middle School, and Sarah Savage, a teacher at Telstar High School, represented Andover. They were nominated by Telstar Middle School Principal Sandra Schroeder for their “G.O.T. Farms?” collaborative service-learning project, which raises awareness of eating local foods from sustainable farms, using renewable energy sources and organic farms. Students and local artists sold their art to raise funds for a greenhouse project and an outside garden. In addition, students filmed a documentary to educate the community, which can be viewed at gotfarms.wordpress.com.

Poland Transfer Station Supervisor Marvin Larrabee was nominated by Town Manager Dana Lee for his involvement with the town’s switch to single-sort recycling. Lee said Larrabee was an important participant in early discussions about mandatory and single-sort recycling and was equally important in implementing the decisions. He managed community relations and education as all solid waste procedures changed, along with rules and fees.

A luncheon was held at the ecomaine offices in Portland to honor all the winners from all 35 participating municipalities. Chairman of the Board Tony Plante, of Windham, and Recycling Committee Chair Troy Moon, of Portland, presented each winner with a framed award and a fleece jacket made from recycled plastic.