Pittsfield recycling rate saves cash, makes cash

Posted April 20, 2010, at 10:56 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — When residents recycle, it saves the town money.

Lots of money, according to Don Chute, Pittsfield’s transfer station and recycling coordinator, who briefed the Town Council on Tuesday about Pittsfield’s recycling rates.

With an overall recycling rate of 68.79 percent in the year ending last week, Pittsfield remains one of the top-ranked municipalities in Maine when it comes to recycling.

“There have been a lot of years when we’ve been number two or three in the state, and I think we’re still in the top 10,” said Chute. After peaking at a rate of about 71 percent in 2006, the rate has dipped slightly, which Chute attributes to the poor economy causing people to buy less and then hold on to items longer.

“People are becoming more thrifty and conscious,” he said.

For every ton of matter that is recycled, Pittsfield earns between $100 and $150. On the flip side, recycling keeps material out of the trash stream, saving some $70 a ton. With up to 2,000 tons being recycled in an average year, the impact on the town’s spending is significant, said Chute.

“The whole program runs on zero [tax dollars],” said Chute. “The revenue pays for the program.”

Town Manager Kathryn Ruth and members of the Town Council commended Chute and other town employees for keeping the recycling rate high.

“These results are excellent,” said Ruth.

Pittsfield already handles recycling for eight surrounding towns, but Chute is hopeful that more towns can be added in 2010, which would add to Pittsfield’s revenues.

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