The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 9, 1999


Where does it all go?

What happens to your tuna cans and Sunday Globe after you drop them off at the transfer station? Each material has its own story, peopled by families, politics, and products.

The general trash, collected in the two compactors, is hauled to the Wheelabrator Incinerators in North Andover under the NESWC contract. In 1998, DPW hauled away 588 loads in their aging 1981 international roll-off vehicle.

Our 1999 cost is $97.67 per ton. Each compactor, full, averages seven to eight tons. Each time a load leaves Carlisle we are collectively out about $800. It adds up, load after load. The NESWC contract requires that we pay for a minimum 1,933 tons per year. Gary Davis, DPW head, states that we are currently running close to that number.

For those who would like to get up close and personal with this incinerator for which we are paying so dearly, call plant manager Jim McIver's office at 978 688-9011 to arrange group tours. Apparently it is quite popular with Scout troops.

Newspapers and mixed paper are hauled to North Shore Recycled Fiber of Salem. We used to receive almost $100 per ton for newspapers, but the bottom has fallen out of the market. Although Carlisle is not receiving much of anything for newspapers or mixed paper, having a vendor receive the materials at a pittance is better then paying $97.67 a ton to incinerate it.

E.L. Harvey, a long-time Carlisle partner

Cardboard goes to E.L. Harvey & Sons in Westborough on Route 135, just off Route 9, about every two weeks. We get about $5 per ton.

When E.L. Harvey and Sons began recycling nearly 50 years ago, no one gave much thought to the environment. Rags, paper, cardboard, mattress and tires were recycled as part of the war effort, then morphed into a way to support the very large Harvey family.

Today, this multimillion-dollar operation, which still has seven Harveys in upper management, has a campus of four huge buildings including a new $3.1 million semi-automated commercial recycling center, paid for with state bonding money.

Jim Harvey, CEO, sadly noted, "People are not as 'green thinking' as before." Today municipalities are doing significantly less on Earth Day than in years past. "Schools are also less interested in having us talk to kids," says Harvey.

Plastic jugs and bottles go to E.L. Harvey as well. The HDPE (milk jugs) is very recyclable. It is bailed and sent all over the country. From your kitchen to Wisconsin to make plastic lumber, to EnviroPlastic in Auburn and to Dupont to make TYVEK, the ultra-strong envelopes.

Glass used to go to another vendor for a nifty price, but that price was dependent on our presorting by color: green with green, clear with clear, etc. It seems that we didn't do such a good job on this and several loads were rejectedand that's really expensive. Now the glass goes to E.L. Harvey for a much lower price. If we get our sorting right we can save some tax dollars. Repeat after me: brown with brown, green with green, clear with clear or it costs us dearly.

E.L. Harvey offers tours and education programs. (508-836-3000; Ellen Harvey, public relations).

Other Vendors

We pay $65 per ton to Wood Recycling of Peabody to take the construction debris; the wood content is brought back to a Woburn plant where chipboard is made. Clean reusable dimensional lumber can be leaned against the fence for local swapping. My cold frames and most of my greenhouse are made from such leavings.

We pay a local recycler, J.P. Routhier in Littleton, $65 a ton to take our tires. They are shredded and sold for conversion to fuel. As David Comstock of the Carlisle Household Waste Committee said, "there's a lot of BTUs in those tires."

The used oil is picked up by Clean Harbors. Their Woburn waste oil recycling facility (Murphy's Oil Company) grades, packages and resells the oil for uses appropriate to the oil's condition and content.

Enough volume passes through the Salvation Army bins to justify their emptying them at least once a week. The

treasures are taken to the Army's sorting and distribution center in Saugus. Some of it makes its way back to the thrift store on Westford Street in Lowell, just off Drum Hill Road.

Things that go boom

Don't bring ammunition, firearms fireworks or explosives to the transfer station, not even on hazardous materials collection day. The police station has an ongoing collection program. The materials are sent to the state police barracks in Sudbury.

Brush and holiday trees

The mountain of Christmas trees at the DPW yard has recently been reincarnated into wood chips, the early warm weather allowing DPW to chip earlier than usual this year.

As in past years, other brush can be dropped off (or thrown up on the brush piles) during April only. Bring as much brush as you want before April 30 and take away as much wood chips as you need.

Sorting affects taxes

In closing, Gary Davis requests that residents make a special effort to separate out the various types of recylables. The accuracy of our sorting translates directly into the prices we are paid, which in turn affects town budget and taxes.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito