A new waste processing facility is expected to open in Hampden at the beginning of July after a yearlong delay. A group of 115 communities across eastern, central and northern Maine has agreed to send its waste to the new plant, a three-acre complex that will use a mix of sensors, heavy machinery and other technology to separate out recyclable materials from the waste stream.
The facility has given those Maine communities a choice of how to dispose of their waste, according to an agreement between the body that represents them, the Municipal Review Committee and Fiberight. Under the agreement, the communities can pay a single fee of $70 per ton to deliver all waste at the same time, minimizing delivery costs and relying on Fiberight’s technology to divert as many recyclable materials away from the landfill as possible.
Or, those communities can send their garbage and recycling to the Fiberight plant separately, paying $70 per ton for the garbage deliveries and half that rate — $35 per ton — for the recycling.
While that second approach would yield recycling savings, it would also require the communities to pay more to separate and transport their waste to the Hampden plant. It would also require residents of those communities to be vigilant about what waste they throw in the recycling, since the Fiberight plant will not count either glass or lower grades of plastic as recyclables, even though those materials have previously been accepted by some recycling programs.
Once the Fiberight facility is commercially running, it will charge communities the regular $70 per ton rate for loads of recycling that are contaminated with non-recyclable waste, according to Shelby Wright, Fiberight’s director of community services.
Five MRC communities have so far signed a contract to send their recycling to the Fiberight plant for the discounted rate, Wright said, while about six have decided to pay the single rate of $70 per ton and send all their waste at the same time.