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With landfill merger in place, Limestone resident suggests expanded recycling options

LIMESTONE, Maine — Limestone resident Julie Weston, who owns Manaus Books and Coffee Shop on Main Street, suggested expanding the town’s recycling options during a Feb. 6 meeting of the Select Board.

Weston brought in a piece of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) number two plastic, which is used to hold book cover material that she and her husband sell via their business. She said that the town would not recycle it.

“Our community landfill will not recycle these,” she said, “and we have over 2,000 of these in the [Masonic] lodge [where the book cover business is located]. I called [the Maine Department of Environmental Protection] to see if they would take them or if there was some way of making the tri-community landfill take them. There isn’t, but they did suggest I talk to the Select Board.”

Selectman Greg Ward told Weston there “is a problem” with recycling that type of plastic.

“Right,” she said, “there is a problem. This is rigid, but they did say if they had enough of them, they had a facility with the capability of taking care of them, but they’d have to have enough to make it worthwhile. So now that Presque Isle is joining in, perhaps we may have enough HDPE that’s rigid.”

Presque Isle recently joined the Tri-Community Recycling and Sanitary Landfill, which consists of Limestone, Fort Fairfield, and Caribou. Under this agreement, the Presque Isle landfill will close either at or before the end of its seven-year capacity, at which point the Tri-Community Landfill in Fort Fairfield would be shared by all four municipalities.

Weston said she has lived in many places throughout the country, and Limestone is the only place that has not accepted the material for recycling.

“This is just part of our business,” she said. “Our product comes in a roll and it sits on this. We don’t want to throw them away or have them end up in a landfill.

“I’m a pretty crafty guy,” said Selectman Tom Albert. “I could find some use for those.”

“They melt at 350 degrees,” Weston said, “and people do make things out of them. These have already been recycled once. It’s just that we don’t want to throw them in the landfill. When I talked to DEP, they said that with Presque Isle joining us, we may have enough people for them to take these.”

Interim Town Manager Stacey Mahan was receptive to the idea and made a note of the type of plastic. He said there is a “strong possibility” that other businesses may have these same types of plastic that could be recycled.

“It’s not just businesses,” Weston said, “but households too, that have HDPE number two items that you can’t recycle, like joint compound buckets.”

Moving forward, Mahan said Thursday that he believes Ward, who sits on the Tri-Community Landfill Board, will look into the issue and report back to the town.

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