The Star-Herald

How recycling is working in Presque Isle

The Presque Isle Landfill and Tri-Community Landfill merged into a new entity known as Aroostook Waste Solutions (AWS) at the beginning of 2019.  The merger resulted in a drop-off recycling program that is now done primarily with the use of brightly colored igloos. This column will present the good, the bad, and the ugly of the status of recycling.  It is time for a “family meeting.”

The igloos located near the Court House and at City Hall are both working well.  The Court House site is working so well in fact that we have had to increase the number of igloos.  We also added extra dumpsters for cardboard during the summer. The current number of cardboard dumpsters still does not appear to be adequate, so another dumpster has been ordered and should be in place by the end of November.

Please make every effort to flatten your cardboard and place it inside the dumpster.  Flattening your cardboard will leave room for someone else’s cardboard. Leaving your cardboard on the ground or on top of the dumpster results in litter on a windy day and a soggy mess on a rainy day.  Please remove packaging materials before you recycle your cardboard. We recycle cardboard, but not the film plastic or Styrofoam packaging that came inside the box.  

Be sure to throw any waxed cardboard away as trash.  We are seeing some waxed cardboard in our recycling program even though there is very little of it in the waste stream.  Usually, only grocery stores or restaurants have waxed cardboard because it is used to ship broccoli and cauliflower. If waxed cardboard ends up at the recycling mill, it can wreak havoc by sticking to the new paper and causing it to tear. This makes the mills extremely unhappy.  

The old recycling program allowed paperboard, also known as boxboard, to be mixed in with cardboard.  Paperboard is no longer recyclable because the mills that are purchasing our cardboard do not allow paperboard in the mix.  Cardboard is dark brown and has the wavy, corrugated middle. Paperboard (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc) is grayish in color and does not have a wavy middle.  Adding paperboard in with the cardboard only results in extra work for the staff at the recycling center, who have to remove it before baling.

Glass can only be recycled if you deliver it to Tri-Community Landfill.  Leaving glass on the ground next to the igloos creates the potential for cutting a person or someone’s tire, if it gets broken.  If you leave glass next to the igloos, it gets thrown away.

Again, the vast majority are doing a wonderful job of recycling.  We appreciate your continued efforts and participation. We just have a few rough edges to smooth off.  If you have questions about recycling, check out the web site at or by calling 760-2712 or 473-7840.


Dana H. Fowler, P.E., is public services director for the city of Presque Isle. He can be reached at 760-2707 or via email at

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