FARMINGTON — The town will begin negotiations with a private contractor to handle recyclables and end a 23-year membership with the Sandy River Recycling Association.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize Town Manager Richard Davis to negotiate with Alan Archibald of Archie’s Inc. of Mexico for disposal of recyclable items.

The board found an offer to provide sorted recycling, as it is done now, at no charge to the public or the town was too good to ignore. Single sort, or unsorted recyclables, in one bag would have a small per-bag charge, according to Archibald’s proposal. The town will receive no revenue credits from the sale of products.

“The private sector has found a niche,” Chairman Ryan Morgan said. “It’s hard not to look at it.”

After the board’s last meeting, the town’s Recycling Committee reorganized and met to consider all options, Davis told the board.

These included continuing with the present system with SRRA at an increase of $3,540 in membership dues or change to a zero-sort system with SRRA at an increase of $16,910 if items are not compacted or a decrease of $876 if transported in a compacted state. This requires an investment in compacting equipment.


Other options included dropping membership with Sandy River and moving to a system of “zero- sort” done at the Transfer Station, which also requires a compactor and containers, an estimated $40,000 investment and $10,000 a year for transportation.

The last option was to end the membership with Sandy River and contract with Archie’s Inc.

When asked what he recommended, Davis reminded the board how the town is facing a difficult budget year, one where every expense needs to be looked at, he said.

A strong supporter of recycling for the benefit of the environment and cost savings from disposing of trash, “the alternative option offered at no cost can’t be overlooked,” Davis said.

Davis has served as treasurer of SRRA in past years and been a supporter, but he admitted “the model is no longer sustainable in this day and age.”

Farmington’s membership withdrawal could mean “the death of SRRA,” Davis added.


As the largest member town with 183 tons of recyclables processed for Farmington, which hosts the SRRA facility, the town was facing a 24 percent increase for membership to $18,355 for 2014, following a 35 percent increase to $14,815 for 2013.

Some towns have already withdrawn to move to a single-sort recycle system, causing SRRA to consider other options and adopt a new hybrid plan of operation at their November annual meeting.

Since the economic downturn in 2008, recyclables have not brought in the revenue they did before, causing SRRA to subsidize the cost of operation, Jo Josephson, former president, previously said.

They could no longer do that and had to look at the real costs of operation, make moves to reduce their budget and consider other options to offer their member towns, she said in November. 

SRRA formed in 1990 to encourage recycling and keep items from landfills. Owned by member towns and governed by their representatives, the association collects, processes and markets recyclables for its members, Josephson added.

The board all agreed when Morgan told her that SRRA had “made headway over the last 20 years to get people to recycle. I hope that (recycling) continues.”

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