proves to be financially beneficial to municipalities in Maine
Because the people of Cape Elizabeth, Portland,
Scarborough, and South Portland participated in recycling, their
municipalities avoided paying a total sum of $1,039,632 in waste
disposal costs over 12 months.
“Recycling makes a real difference to the
bottom line,” said City of Portland’s director of Public Services
Michael Bobinsky. He explained that, from July 1, 2010 through
June 30, 2011, the residents and businesses of Portland separated
5,358 tons of recyclable material from their trash and “since
every ton of trash costs the City $88 for disposal, we avoided
paying $471,504.” There is potential for even greater financial
benefit if Portland’s 35 percent recycling rate grows.
Similar, proportional benefits were experienced
in the smaller communities of Cape Elizabeth, which had a recycling
rate of 33 percent and avoided costs of $111,056; Scarborough,
with a recycling rate of 34 percent and avoided costs of $240,504;
and South Portland, with a recycling rate of 28 percent and avoided
costs of $216,568.
All four municipalities are owners of ecomaine,
the nonprofit entity that handles both their disposal and recycling.
Ecomaine’s general manager, Kevin Roche, noted that even a small
increase in a community’s recycling percentage can yield significant
financial benefits. With just a 2 percent increase, for example,
South Portland would have saved an additional $4,331, Cape Elizabeth
an additional $2,221, Scarborough an additional $4,810, and Portland
an additional $9,430. “That’s why raising community awareness
of recycling is so important,” said Roche. “We want everyone
to understand that recycling is an advantage for their communities
ecologically and economically, and that with single-sort technology,
it couldn’t be easier to participate.”
Statistics for each of ecomaine’s 39 recycling
communities are updated monthly and can be viewed at www.ecomaine.org.