Belfast expands plastic recycling

Posted Dec. 10, 2012, at 6:33 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Saturday was a big day at the Belfast Transfer Station. That’s because residents — some of whom have been saving up their non-number-two plastics for awhile — were finally able to recycle them in Belfast, according to city employee Jennika Lundy.

“It was busy and good,” she said Monday.

For years, the transfer station accepted only number two plastics, a category that includes milk jugs. But the city had to turn away plastics numbered one and three through seven. Plastics are separated according to the type of resin that is used to make the item and often cannot be recycled together.

“We didn’t really have a way to accept them,” Lundy said. “We didn’t have a way to bale them.”

Belfast sells its recycled materials to Maine Resource Recovery in Bangor, which trades in commodities, and number two plastics get a good price, she said.

However, the city’s Recycling Advisory Committee recommended back in 2010 that increasing the types of plastics accepted at the transfer center would help boost the recycling rate above 37.1 percent, which residents logged in 2009.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the city began accepting plastics including food and yogurt containers, cleaning product containers and butter tubs. It’s also accepting plastic toys, microwave trays, laundry baskets, lawn furniture and more. Belfast still does not accept styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic bags or motor oil containers for recycling.

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