RUMFORD — The River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition celebrated Earth Day on Wednesday by speaking about recycling during their monthly networking meeting at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology.

Executive Director Patricia Duguay spoke to a small group of coalition members about ways they could improve recycling in their workplaces and homes.

Duguay started the meeting by asking those in attendance what they were planning on doing for Earth Day.

RVHCC member Barbara Rajaniemi said that she was planning to walk more rather than use her car to “reduce my carbon footprint,” while Randall Smith, owner of Ink Plaza on Congress Street in Rumford, said that he was planning on setting up a recycling box at the entrance to his store.

After everyone had a chance to speak, Duguay began explaining ways for people to recycle in their workplace.

“About a quarter of the trash we can throw away is actual trash,” Duguay said. “The rest of it can be recycled. However, a lot of it gets mingled in with the trash. Recycling has a huge impact and requires little effort.”


Duguay said that recycling paper is the “easiest” way to recycle, since you’re not required to separate the paper by color or size.

“You can just put all types of paper into one bin, without sorting, which is a huge help,” Duguay said. “That’s what a lot of offices do right now.”

She added that offices can go a step farther by placing recycling bins next to specific areas in the office.

“Let’s say that your office has a printer that a lot of people use,” Duguay said. “It’s important to place recycling bins wherever you have a lot of activity. That way, it doesn’t get mixed up with regular trash.”

Duguay pointed out that recycling one ton of paper saves 4,100 kilowatts of energy, which is enough to power the average home for six months.

“I know that, for some offices, it’s difficult to clean out their plastic bottles because they don’t have a kitchen or a sink to use,” Duguay said. “However, the paper is something that everyone can do.”


Near the end of the meeting, Duguay shared numbers from the Northern Oxford Regional Solid Waste and Recycling Center, which serves Byron, Dixfield, Mexico, Roxbury and Rumford.

“According to last year’s numbers, we collected 9,366 tons of trash, which resulted in a cost of $486,305 to the people in those towns,” Duguay said. “We ended up collecting 938 tons of recycled items, which brought in $102,640. We’re fortunate that we haven’t had to increase our rates once in the last nine years. However, the numbers say we’re recycling at a 10 percent rate, when we could be at 50.”

Duguay suggested that people recycle as often as they can at home.

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