Make a Choice—Recycle or Pay
In January, the Board of Health learned that the town’s cost for dumping compacted trash is going to increase from the current $70/ton to $79/ton! The generation of compacted trash in the town of Conway stood at 500 pounds per person in 2017. Our production is double that of most Pay-as-you-Throw (PAYT) towns in the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District (FCSWMD). Since every town surrounding Conway has a PAYT program, it would be unusual if some of the trash from PAYT towns was not finding its way into the households of well meaning Conway friends and relatives for “free” disposal at the Conway Transfer Station. Another likely possibility is that many Conway residents find it easier to bypass the recycling process and take everything to the compactor.
At least a dozen years ago the Board of Health explored the possibility of a PAYT program in Conway but held its ground on maintaining free access to trash disposal as long as the recycling rate didn’t backslide. The Conway Board has always hoped to see the scales tip in favor of the recycling program as there are no disposal fees (outside of transportation costs) and the town earns return revenue on recyclables.
Unfortunately, recycling numbers are not growing in Conway.
In 2016 our recycling percentage slipped below the recycling average for FCSWMD towns and in 2017 our recycling rate placed us third from the bottom of the list in our paper and mixed container collection. While towns around us are averaging a 34% recycling rate, some reaching 45 to 50%, we have dropped to an embarrassing 29%. Without some major changes in our disposal habits, 2018 is likely to see us at the very bottom of the recycling list as the two towns below us have gone to a PAYT trash disposal system, reducing their trash output and increasing their recycling by as much as 40 percent.
The Town of Conway has a Mandatory Recycling Regulation stating that “any person who violates the provisions of the Regulation may be penalized by Non-Criminal Disposition or may be punished by a fine not to exceed $300 per incident.”
We need to refocus our priorities and return energy to our voluntary recycling program.If you are among those people that are diligently recycling, thank you and please keep up the good work. If you can add composting to your recycling efforts, either as a personal or neighborhood endeavor, please do so.
If you are not sorting, please make that a priority.