Marion Finds Temporary Recycling Solution

The Town of Marion has found a company to temporarily receive its recyclables after its contracted company, WeCare Environmental, abruptly suspended its contract while it moves its Taunton facility to a new site in Middleboro.

According to Department of Public Works Administrative Assistant Rebecca Tilden, the Town will continue to collect residents’ curbside recycling and deliver it to New Bedford Waste Services in Rochester, managed by Casella Waste Systems, Inc.

“Nothing changes,” said Tilden. “Currently, we’re still collecting curbside.”

Back on May 7, Town Administrator Paul Dawson said WeCare Environmental gave the Town a sudden notice that for the next few months WeCare would not receive recyclables from Marion as it relocates to its new location.

“They should be back up and running within a couple of months,” said Tilden.

The City of Taunton, however, was given notice just days ago that as of June 1, WeCare would terminate its contract and no longer collect or receive recyclable materials from the City of Taunton.

Taunton recently implemented its new automated recycling collection program and issued residents their new 96-gallon blue carts just weeks ago.

The temporary suspension of its contract with WeCare is not the only problem facing Marion pertaining to recycling. Residents are putting high quantities of dirty and unwashed recyclable containers and items into the bins, a nation-wide problem that, at the local level, means higher costs to dispose of the materials and possibly more materials heading to regional landfills instead of being processed and re-used.

The nation’s largest buyer of recyclable materials, China, now refuses the bulk of recyclable materials from the United States due to the high contamination levels of unwashed plastic and grease-tainted paper products, leading municipalities across the country scurrying to find solutions to improper recycling habits and the high cost to dispose of the materials, especially in states like Massachusetts where municipalities are mandated by the Department of Environmental Protection to recycle.

“It’s the issue all towns are having,” said Tilden. “It’s a lot of dirty recycling. That’s the issue right now, and that’s really hard to take care of.”

In addition to dirty materials, Marion residents are tossing too many non-recyclables into their bins, which slows down the sorting and processing of the materials and leads to equipment shutdowns and, with enough unrecyclable and contaminated materials, could result in rejection of the Town’s recyclables – consequences that could mean DEP enforcement actions, along with those increased costs to dispose of the material.

If you have questions about what is recyclable and what is not, call the DPW office directly at 508-748-3540.

By Jean Perry

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