City recycling efforts are paying off

12 years ago

City recycling efforts are paying off


by Dana H. Fowler

    With the implementation of Pay As You Throw (PAYT) in March 2011, there has been an increase in recycling as residents do their part to reduce the amount of orange PAYT bags that they have to purchase. The city has used blue bags for many years for curbside recycling and provided these bags to homeowners at no cost. Last year residents picked up their free blue bags from the either the waste haulers or municipal offices.

    Many of you commented that there must be a better way than making numerous trips to City Hall to pick up your blue bags for recycling. Thanks to Administrative Assistant Sandra Fournier, a new idea for blue bag distribution was conceived. That idea was to put the blue bags in the same package as the orange PAYT bags. This permitted the purchaser of PAYT bags to also have the same number of blue recycling bags in the new “combo pack.”

    The combo pack was first marketed in stores in late December 2011. The City Council voted to continue to provide the blue bags at no cost, so the purchase price of the combo pack is only for the PAYT bags. We informed residents that the city anticipated that its inventory of blue bags would be exhausted in early 2012, which is what has now occurred. Therefore, if the number of blue bags in the combo pack is not adequate, the resident will have to purchase additional blue bags from stores.

    We want to advise you that there are several local stores that sell packages of blue bags for those residents that need more blue bags than what comes in the combo packs. These stores include Bradley’s Convenience Store, Graves Shop n Save, Maine Potato Growers, Star City IGA, and Walmart. You may see several different manufacturers of blue bags. One brand of blue bag has printing on it while others do not. It does not matter which brand of blue bag you use for your recyclables as long as it is blue in color and transparent, so that the waste hauler can see that what is inside the bag is recyclable.

    We have also received some calls recently inquiring about whether No. 1 PETE berry containers are recyclable or not. The berry containers in question usually contain blueberries or strawberries, are the clamshell type, and are stamped on the bottom with the symbol for No. 1 PETE. The answer is no, these containers are not recyclable.

    What is acceptable for plastics recycling are No. 1 PETE and No. 2 HDPE bottles. Bottles are defined as containers with a neck. Most bottles also have screw-on threads. So, just keep the word ‘bottleneck’ in mind as far as what is recyclable. On the other hand, ‘wide mouths’ are not recyclable and do not have a neck and do not have threads on the neck. Some examples of wide mouth containers are butter tubs and yogurt containers.

    Our recycling tonnage increased last year when PAYT started and we are pleased that our recycling tonnage is higher this year than last. So, thank you for our recycling efforts. If you have questions recycling or other solid waste issues, please contact the Solid Waste Division at 760-2712.

    Dana H. Fowler is Public Services Director for the city of Presque Isle. He can be reached at 760-2707 or via e-mail at