Bradley is joining the list of Maine communities to eliminate curbside recycling.

At last week’s town council meeting, councilors reviewed bids for curbside refuse and collection services. The lowest bid was from Sullivan’s Waste Disposal, for $77,400 for solid waste pickup and $9,600 for curbside pickup. The present cost to the town is $39,600 for solid waste pickup and $7,800 for recycling.

Recycling markets have collapsed in recent times, however, and councilors wondered if the town could continue to offer recycling as they do now. Town Manager Melissa Doane said Bradley does not currently have to pay a tipping fee for its curbside recycling; however, that will change July 1. At that time, the cost per ton for recycling will be $35 a ton if it is uncontaminated; most recycling, however, is contaminated, in such ways as food residues, plastic bags, unrinsed bottles, etc.; the cost of recycling instead is likely to be closer to that of solid waste, which will be $70 a ton at the start of the new fiscal year.

Councilor Larry Wade said the new Fiberight facility that is scheduled to start this year will process materials in the solid waste stream, so residents still will be recycling, just in a different manner. Councilor Duane Lugdon wondered if it would be prudent to hold a public hearing on eliminating recycling; Doane said there will be a public hearing before the budget is finalized.

Both Lugdon and Doane were concerned that residents could be upset with the loss of recycling, but Councilor Karen Richard said she felt that residents would support the change once they understood that Fiberight would be sorting recyclables, meaning less work for residents who had been doing the sorting at home.

The council voted 3-0 to accept a five year bid from Sullivan’s for curbside trash pickup and to eliminate recycling. In favor were Wade, Richard, and Lugdon. Councilors Sally Strout and Dennis Ketch were absent.

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