Wilton no longer accepting single sort recyclables

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WILTON – The Town of Wilton will be making changes to the Recycling program effective August 1, 2018. All household recyclables accepted at the Recycling and Transfer Station will need to be separated into the following six categories of: glass, tin cans and aluminum; HDPE #2 bottles and jugs; newspapers, magazines, catalogs and telephone books; corrugated cardboard; and mixed paper. Single sort recyclables will not be accepted at this time.

In 2012 the town’s recycling program switched from individually separated recyclables to the Single Sort program. The switch to single sort recyclables was done due to the lower costs and the convenience for the residents. In the recent year, the end market for the single sort recyclables has changed, resulting in significantly higher costs to the local municipal towns and cities that collect single sort recyclables. As these costs are now markedly higher than the costs to dispose of household trash, the Wilton Recycling Committee and the Wilton Board of Selectpersons voted to make the change back to the separated collection of recyclables. Wilton did not have any problem with contamination of the single sort recyclables; rather, the disposal costs were the issue.

For over twenty years, Wilton residents separated recyclables for collection. The current program will go back to the former collection ways. This will ensure residents that all materials collected will be recycled and the costs will be considerably less than the costs to dispose of household trash.

The Wilton Transfer Station will continue to use the recycling compactor. Residents will now deposit corrugated cardboard into this container, instead of the single sort co-mingled recyclables. Two bins will be rented for the separated recyclables. If, in the future, the market for recyclables were to change, and single sort recycling was to again become cost effective, the Transfer Station would easily be able to make the switch again to single sort recycling.

The Town of Wilton manages all of the materials, including the trash, bulky waste, demolition debris, that are deposited at the Facility, for the lowest costs and best methods of disposable. Most of this is done behind the scenes and does not affect the resident on a day to day basis. At other times, such as with household recycling, residents are asked to make adjustments to their collection and disposal methods.

A recycling flyer will soon be available at the Transfer Station and the Town Office to explain the changes that will be made effective August 1.

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  1. So the town has various demo bins for the various types of trash, people pull up and throw stuff in the bins, but the town is making people sort their recyclables, what exactly are the people who work at the dump getting paid for?

  2. For over twenty years, Wilton residents separated recyclables for collection. The current program will go back to the former collection ways. This will ensure residents that all materials collected will be recycled and the costs will be considerably less than the costs to dispose of household trash.

    Having not been a Wilton resident in those 20 years, this will be a big change. Did the shift from the separated recyclables to single sort have an effect on the amount of trash generated when the switch was made in 2012? It would be interesting to see what the numbers look like in terms of recycled vs waste back in 2012, in recent years, and in future years, to see if the single sort is worth the cost if it is worth the increase in recycling.

  3. “what exactly are the people who work at the dump getting paid for?”

    Essentially they do the work that many indifferent (and nameless) citizens are too lazy to do

    ……………not necessarily the “exact” answer Hrtlss Bstrd requires/demands butt close ’nuff

  4. Nathan – in May 2018, the cost per ton for recyclables that we pay to the company that takes our recyclables was $120.00 per ton. The cost for the 18.63 tons recycled in May was $2,235.60 plus the transportation cost of $762.00 to haul three containers, for a total of $2,997.60 for the month. By contrast, our cost per ton in May for household trash was $62.78 per ton. The total cost for 18.63 tons of household trash was $1,169.59 plus the hauling cost of $534 for three containers, for a total of $1,703.59. It was $1,294.01 more to dispose of the recyclables in May than to dispose of the same amount of trash. On an annual basis, the recycling cost is projected to now be $34,971.20. The annual cost to dispose of this amount if it were trash would be $20,443.08. In 2012, when we made the switch to single sort, our annual costs were approximately $9,000. In talking with the Single Sort Recycling Facilities, these increases do not appear to be temporary. By going back to single sort, and a different end facility, our recycling costs are projected to be $4,800 to $7,000 per year, and our materials will be recycled. This will be a different facility than we were using prior to 2012. Again, as stated in the article, we manage all of the materials that come to the transfer station/recycling facility for the best markets (least cost to us, or highest price received – metal). Most of the time we can make adjustments without affecting residents. Unfortunately this change does affect residents.
    Hrtlss Bstrd – please call me at the town office at 645-4961 or stop by the town office at 158 Weld Road and I can discuss the job descriptions of the attendants. It is lengthier than my explanation of the costs.

  5. well i don’t know about everyone else but the pain of sorting my recyclables individually is going to prevent me from recycling all together. this is too bad because generally my zero sort recycling is a greater amount then then trash that i currently bring to the dump. seems like i was doing a good thing and in a very simple way. but on the plus side maybe we can use the money saved to throw more money at the old bass building, or rehab the old tannery and give that away for a dollar…

  6. TrickyRicky, I agree with everything you said. Just because people were used to sorting once upon a time doesn’t mean they will go back there. Watch the trash pile up! And we’ll never know how much money Keenan could have generated had the tannery been sold through one of their well advertised public auctions. Don’t forget the fire truck that was never outfitted and delivered after being mostly paid for….

  7. The market for recyclables is down and this drives the costs up. This is most likely caused by 1) many towns trying to do the right thing and increase recycling. The unfortunate effect is the supply of material goes up, 2) legislation mandating a certain percentage of recycled material being used in product packaging has slowed down. This reduces the demand. So, we have a reduced demand and a glut of available materials. The companies that buy and haul this stuff are charging more per ton as they need to make up for the lost sales revenue. This is basic economics. In the end, this is a natural consequence of too much success in recycling efforts. It is possible that many towns besides Wilton will go away from single stream and this will decrease the amount of recycling. This will naturally reduce the amount of material available but until the demand goes back up, it won’t really make a difference. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice about how excited you are to sort your trash and recycle properly. I am all for the environment but I have to admit, the moving from bin to bin at the dump (like we had to do before single stream) is a bit of a nuisance. I am told that I can buy a storage device with multiple compartments but then I have to spend the money, haul an odd shaped item in my car etc.. In the big picture, it is not that difficult to go back to the old way it is just a matter of a transition period where many, myself included, will be prone to just tossing it all into household trash.
    Rhonda provided a very clear explanation on the costs which lead to the change and I appreciate the town looking out for our wallets.

  8. While I do appreciate the realities of costs, I find it sad that the bottom line is once again more important than the environment, or our community’s future. On a more positive note, I guess it is great that recycling is too successful to be affordable?

    I don’t mind the sorting of the old way, but what does bother me is that going by the original zero sort recycling info sheet, MANY items are recycled by them which are not accepted when we separate everything out. Ms. Irish please correct me if I am wrong.

    With zero sort, all bottles/containers numbered 1-7 (although I only ever see 2,4,5); aerosol containers, and covers still in place on all kinds of containers. Semi-rigid plastics like toys and plant pots, laundry baskets. No need to remove staples or clips from papers. Milk and juice containers.

    What I recall from separating out is more limited.

    If it is a given that we are going back to the old way, having some simple signs says what material goes in which bin would help. I remember puzzling it out with others when the bins were nearly empty. Also maybe some volunteers to help older or disabled people with the process during certain hours?

  9. I hate seeing folks say they won’t recycle if they have to go back to the old way. It’s not all that difficult to do. It feels like people are just too lazy to do the right thing. Also, from what I understand what Jay did with outsourcing hasn’t worked so well. Archie employees through garbage cans/covers everywhere. I prefer to use a private service (J & A Disposal) to pick up my garage and recyclables. Jeremy Richards does an outstanding job.

  10. Spend taxes: They complain it cost too much. Save them money by asking them actually work and do a minor task: They complain, Pessimist dilemma: You have to give to get.

  11. Thank you Seamus for this excellent article. Perhaps we as a country should be responsible for our own recycling.

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