St. John Valley

Transfer station in Eagle Lake collecting recyclables

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — The Northern Aroostook Solid Waste Association transfer station in Eagle Lake is accepting recyclables, a move which may reduce solid waste costs and help the environment at the same time. 

The NASWA is a collective of five member communities — Eagle Lake, Wallagrass, New Canada, Winterville and the unorganized territory of Township 15 Range 6.

Residents of the communities are encouraged to bring clean corrugated cardboard, food cans, glass jars and No. 2 plastics to the transfer station. 

Plans for the recycling project have been underway for some time. In August, the transfer station acquired a new 40-foot by 40-foot building funded mostly from a $30,000 Maine DEP waste diversion grant. The facility began taking in cardboard in November. 

“We had absolutely no infrastructure to start with, so to put up the building was one of the biggest obstacles,” Eagle Lake Town Manager John Sutherland said. 

The building allows room for two balers to compact recyclable materials and to keep the items, especially cardboard, out of the weather elements. 

NASWA also saved money on the recycling project when Issac Nelson of Aroostook Trusses in Presque Isle donated the two balers. 

“We really did this on a limited budget and that was some major help, by not having that expense,” Sutherland said. “We really appreciate what they did for us.” 

The group applied for another waste reduction grant this year in the hopes of acquiring a forklift to help move the recyclable materials. NASWA would also like to obtain new  recyclable receptacles and a loading dock to aid in shipping out recyclable products.

Sutherland hopes to sell some of the recyclable items, and has contacted Maine Resource Recovery Association, which works with Maine municipalities to locate markets for such materials.  

Member communities of NASWA pay almost $100 a ton between tracking and landfill costs to move their wastes to a facility in New Brunswick. 

“The municipalities that make up NASWAR are going to benefit in the long run,” Sutherland said. “It’s not only the budget but we need to be good stewards of the planet. Recycling to me seems a better way than digging a hole in the ground. If we can bring in some revenue for these materials and lower our expenses, it will be beneficial to NASWA communities.”

Sutherland said in the future there may be additional dropoff sites for recyclables in Wallagrass and Winterville to make the process more convenient for NASWA residents.

“Going forward our goals would be to expand recycling and we want to get into assorted office paper, newspaper and some of the other various grades of plastic,” Sutherland said. 

For information, contact the Eagle Lake Town Office at 207-444-5511.

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