PARIS — More than a dozen local commercial haulers and business owners from the Oxford Hills attended Wednesday evening’s Norway-Paris Solid Waste board meeting to share their concerns about the town potentially switching from multi-sort recycling to single-sort, which would affect their business.

Before discussion began, Norway-Paris Solid Waste Committee member Janet Jamison told the audience that at a previous meeting, the board discussed single-sort recycling, and that it was a “direction we probably want to go with.”

“The other communities who have gone in that direction have seen huge jumps in recycling rates,” she said.

The multi-sort recycling system requires residents to place recyclables into individual bins according to their material, meaning paper, cardboard, glass and other materials would be sorted separately.

Single-sort recycling means all paper, plastics, metals and other recyclables are thrown into one collection truck. The recyclables would be shipped to a plant outside Oxford Hills.

Jamison said she invited Pine Tree Waste representative Karen McNaughton to answer questions about single-sort recycling.

Josh Tice, owner of Tice Waste Management in Norway, told the board that he was “anti-single sort” after speaking with people in towns with single-sort recycling who said their recycling rate did not increase after joining.

“I don’t think people are going to recycle more just because it’s easier,” he said.

In response to questions about the Norway Paris Transfer Station’s recycling rate, Warren Sessions Jr., facility manager of the Norway Paris Transfer Station, said that Oxford County Recycling paid $25,000 to check out the efficiency of the transfer station and “did not find a smoking gun.”

“They told us that we were operating as efficiently as any single-sort operation out there,” he told the board.

One resident urged the board to institute stronger enforcement of recycling at the transfer station, as there were many nonresidents who used the Norway Paris Transfer Station “because you guys are the closest, and you don’t enforce.”

Jamison told the resident that the board was looking into new ways to enforce who recycles and brings trash to the Norway Paris Transfer Station.

After several commercial haulers shared their opinions about single-sort recycling, McNaughton told the audience that she was at the board meeting “not as an enemy, but to help the community.”

She said that the town’s recycling rates were around 8 percent, when they should be in the 25 to 55 percent range.

However, Sessions disagreed with McNaughton’s number, explaining that the state pegged the transfer station’s recycling rate around 38 percent.

McNaughton later urged Tice and other commercial haulers to visit the single-sort systems that Bethel, Newry and Hanover share to see what it does.

Resident Karen Tice asked Jamison whether or not the board was voting on the issue “tonight,” since she and other commercial haulers heard that a vote was happening at the meeting.

Jamison reassured the audience that the board would not be voting on the issue at Wednesday’s meeting, and that it was something that was still up for discussion.

Tice added that she believes if any change were to be made in how Norway and Paris recycle, it should be decided by residents, not the Solid Waste board.

“I don’t think four or six people on a board should be making a decision for everyone,” she said.

Following the meeting, Karen Tice said that she and the other commercial haulers “absolutely understand the importance of recycling.”

“I just think there are better ways of doing it that don’t involve single sort or pushing away the local commercial haulers who do this for a living,” she added.

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Pine Tree Recycling representative Karen McNaughton, left, answers questions from commercial haulers about single-sort recycling at Wednesday evening’s Norway Paris Solid Waste Board meeting, while board members Jenna Mulandi, middle, and Anthony Morra listen.


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