AUBURN — The city’s new-look curbside recycling program, which was originally slated to begin Wednesday, won’t begin until later this month, according to Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque.

According to Levesque, the program has been delayed due to staffing and finalizing the mobile app that will be offered to customers through Casella.

He said Wednesday that “while we’re all anxious to restart a more effective and comprehensive recycling program, this delay allows the completion and rollout of some cutting-edge technology and education components, which in the long run will make our program more environmentally impactful.”

“I thank the people of Auburn for their patience and understanding that we want to do this correctly from the start,” he said.

The Auburn City Council approved the new program in mid-October after stating that it had renegotiated its recycling program contract with Casella.

Officials told the public in October that the new agreement with Casella would provide a biweekly curbside pickup, and include a mobile app with service alerts and public education efforts.


They said the program would operate much the same but will ask residents not to include glass or metals.

The decision came after months of debate over the city’s recycling system and criticism of its evolving drop-off program that was stood up after the council eliminated its curbside recycling in May.

At the time, officials argued that it is cheaper to send material to Maine Waste to Energy in Auburn, where it is incinerated, than to pay for a curbside program. Levesque said the negotiations with Casella centered on what materials are being recycled and used in secondary markets.

The city’s agreement with Casella is for eight months at a cost of $153,512. Accepted materials will include No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 plastics, cardboard and mixed paper.

According to a city memo, the program will also feature the use of a “Waste Wizard” tool, which allows users to scan items to determine whether or not they can be recycled.

Brian Wood, deputy city manager, said Thursday that the current plan is to officially start collection the week of Nov. 27, and to begin “socializing the app with residents on Nov. 20.

The city will also continue to have the drop-off containers at Auburn Public Works.

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