Residents of Presque Isle, ME and surrounding communities have recently seen changes in recycling and trash disposal guidelines as part of the new tri-community landfill merger between Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield, Caribou and Limestone. In 2018, those communities agreed to combine the Presque Isle Landfill and Tri-Community Landfill into one entity known as Aroostook Waste Solutions. As part of the merger, Presque Isle has implemented a new igloo recycling system that replaces curbside collection of recyclables using blue bags.
The brightly-colored igloos have been placed at the following locations: the Presque Isle City Hall parking lot, near the Presque Isle Courthouse on Riverside Drive, the Presque Isle Landfill, the Mapleton Town Office and the Washburn Town Office. Each igloo has a different color and a label that specifies what materials residents are allowed to recycle in that particular bin.
Red igloos are approved for recycling only clear plastic containers with the No. 2 recycling symbol such as milk and water jugs while the blue igloos can only accept colored plastic containers such as detergent, dish liquid, bleach, shampoo, oil containers and light block white milk containers. Residents are encouraged to remove bottle caps, rinse the containers clean and crush them before recycling to save space in the igloos.
Yellow igloos must only contain newspapers, telephone books and newspaper inserts, while the green igloos are reserved for magazines and catalogs, and gray igloos for tin and steel cans, according to Mark Draper, solid waste director for Aroostook Waste Solutions. As of Jan. 1, 2019, the Presque Isle Recycling Center, formerly located on Missile Street, has ceased operations. There is no fee to use any of the igloos for recyclable materials and the service is available 24/7.
Draper anticipated that additional dumpsters, specifically for cardboard, would be placed next to the igloos at each location within days. “We encourage folks not to try to recycle any materials that don’t belong in a specific igloo or to put cardboard anywhere except the specificized dumpster,” Draper said. “Putting the wrong materials in an igloo only creates more work for our employees and adds to the overall cost, because we have to dig out the stuff by hand and dispose of it ourselves.”
The changes in recycling are largely due to increased costs and decreased revenue in the operation of recycling programs for municipalities across the state and country, said Draper. In 2017, China, the world’s largest importer of waste, announced that the country would no longer import 24 types of waste from the United States, Europe and other countries beginning in 2018 in an effort to enforce limits on accepting waste contaminated with non recyclable materials.