Bangor residents who have grown accustomed to leaving their recycling at the city’s public works garage at 530 Maine Ave. will no longer be able to do so starting Sept. 2.
The city has kept that station open seven days a week. A variety of residents use it, including some who live in apartment complexes that do not have curbside waste collection and people who cannot fit all of their recycling into the loads that are picked up every other week.
Roughly 400 tons of recycling have been dropped off at that station annually, accounting for about half of the city’s overall recycling, according to Public Works Director Eric Willett.
However, the city is closing the station Sept. 2 as part of a larger shift in how the city handles trash and recycling.
Bangor, like more than 100 other Maine communities, will soon take all that waste to a new facility in Hampden that’s been developed by the company Fiberight with technology that’s meant to boost recycling rates to at least 50 percent.
Besides closing the recycling station at 530 Maine Ave., the city is also ending its current program of having residents separate their recyclables from their trash and leave the recycling to be picked up from the curbside every other week.
As of Sept. 2, the city will formally move over to a new arrangement in which residents will throw all of their recyclables in with their trash and leave the mixed waste to be picked up from the curbside every week, as now happens with trash.
Residents will be able to leave the mixed waste in a variety of containers, including trash bins, plastic bags or the blue bins that they have traditionally used for recycling. They will not need to place a sticker on the containers, as they have had to do with loads of recycling.
The city has entered a five-year contract with Pine Tree Waste to carry those mixed loads to the Fiberight plant in Hampden.
Although that facility was originally expected to open in April 2018, its launch has been delayed more than a year. Fiberight officials recently said they expect commercial operations to start in the middle of August.
In the meantime, the Maine communities that plan to use the new facility have been forced to send much of their waste to landfills.