Mandatory Recycling Comes to Hampton

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Paper and cardboard now added to plastic, aluminum and glass

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, November 27, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

A collection of materials that it is now mandatory to recycle in Hampton.
[Courtesy photo]

HAMPTON -- In case you haven't heard, there is no longer an option when it comes to recycling in the town of Hampton. Selectmen voted in August to phase in a mandatory recycling over a three-month period.

It started first with glass bottles in October, then aluminium/tin food and beverage cans were added in November. Now, starting on Dec. 1, all cardboard and paper will be required to be recycled.

Jane Ansaldo-Church, a member of the town's Recycling Education Committee, said now that paper and cardboard are on the list, they are hoping to see a lot more recycling bins out on trash collection day.

The committee has been working to educate the public on what can and can not be recycled as part of the town's decision to implement mandatory recycling.

"I think everybody wants to do the right thing and recycle, it's just learning what you can recycle" Ansaldo-Church said, "and I think once people learn, they will realize there is very little you can not recycle."

Ansaldo-Church said when it comes to the process for recycling paper, it's pretty simple.

"If you can rip it, you can recycle it," Ansaldo-Church said. "That is the basic rule of thumb."

Ansaldo-Church said 80 percent of what residents get in the mail is recyclable.

Books and telephone directories can also be recycled.

"If you take off the hardcover of the book, you can recycle the whole book," Ansaldo-Church said.

Another option, she said, is to drop any books off at the Transfer Station, located off Landing Road.

Cardboard that can be recycled includes everything from cereal boxes and egg cartons to orange juice containers.

"We just want to get people thinking about these things," Ansaldo-Church said.

The Recycling Education Committee is also pushing to inform the public that just because items are not on the list to be recycled, it doesn't mean they can't be.

"Right now, there is no mandatory date for plastic," Ansaldo-Church, "but plastic can be recycled. If it has a triangle on it can be recycled."

Ansaldo-Church said recycling is not only the "right thing to do for the environment," but it will also save residents money.

"Your going to help save the town money, which means your going to save yourself money," she said.

The town currently spends nearly $2 million on solid waste removal and disposal, and generates more tonnage per year than Exeter and Portsmouth combined.

Last year, the town spent $500,000 in tipping fees to dump trash at the landfill in Rochester.

"For every ton that is taken out of the waste stream, the town save $68 in disposal fees," said Ansaldo-Church. "If the tonnage is less, it's going to cost the town less and, as a result, the taxpayers less."

Ansaldo-Church said that if communities don't embrace recycling, it's going to cost cities and town in the long run.

"The landfills are filling up." Ansaldo-Church said. "Rochester landfill is only going to be open for so long, and then where are we going to go?"

Public Works Director John Price recently said the town's mandatory recycling program is going well.

While there is a $500 fine per violation for those who do not recycle, Town Manager Fred Welch said right now town officials are just concentrating on educating the public.

Ansaldo-Church said if trash collectors hear the sound of glass bottles in the trash bags, they will not take those bags.

"They will put a sticker on (the bag) telling you why it wasn't picked up," Ansaldo-Church said.

Selectmen were granted the authority to implement mandatory recycling when voters passed the solid waste ordinance last March. The board's decision to take the choice out of the process came on the heels of an Aug. 10 public hearing at which numerous business owners in town spoke against ending commercial trash pickup.

Rather than end commercial trash pickup, selectmen decided to give mandatory recycling a try in order to reduce the amount of tonnage brought to the transfer station.

What can be recycled

Glass: Brown, clear, or green food and beverage containers.
Plastic: No. 1, with screw tops only. Numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, (milk, juice, shampoo, detergent bottles, etc.)
Metal: Aluminum food and beverage cans, bimetal (tin) food containers only.
Paper: Newspaper/print, magazines, junk mail, catalogs, phone books, paper board boxes, office paper.
Cardboard: clean,corrugated cardboard

How to recycle:

Recycled items should be out at the curb by 6 a.m. on the day of your collection.
Recycling will be collected on your normal trash collection day, except Presidential Circle, Esker Road and Surfside Park off Acadia Avenue, where recycling is collected on Friday.
Eighteen-gallon recycling bins are available at the Transfer Station during normal operating hours.

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