Editor of the Reformer:
It’s time to shut down operations at Windham Southeast Waste Management District.
Looking from my home in Florida, I see a solid waste recycling compost and transfer facility that since my retirement, two years ago, is failing.
I read the Reformer online to keep up with my old hometown and read week after week about the W.S.W.M.D. budget problems. I managed the District’s operations for the past 20 years and need to set the record straight. When George Murray, past executive director, and myself left, we noted to the board of directors the need for change in operations to keep pace with the ever changing recycling playing field. It was our suggestion to the board not to collect 3-7 plastics because of unstable markets or no markets at all. The board did not listen and the floodgate was open to "freestyle recycling." The extra trash that came in with the recyclables far offset the value of the warm fuzzy feeling that the board had when the program was started. The value of the product and logistical cost for change in operations and increased manpower did not match. We started the can and bottle redemption program to offset the cost of the 3-7 plastic recycling program. The redemption, with the help of Putney Road Redemption, netted the District $50,000 the first year.
We told the board of directors that more material was needed to increase profitability and back hauled clean profitable plastics from the Greater Upper Valley solid waste district on our return construction demolition runs to Hartford. This program has been abandoned. Management since lost the wastestream recyclables from the towns of Chesterfield and Hinsdale, N.H., because of a lack of negotiation. It was my vision to add more towns to make the facility regional and increase tonnage.
The District needs to keep pace with the times. Zero-Sort recycling is the trend. Single stream reduces collection cost. All recyclables would go on the same truck. The dual stream materials recovery facility is old and tired. The District does not generate enough material to upgrade to singe stream nor does it have money set aside for capital improvements. The Materials Recovery Facility should be closed and turned into a transfer station for single stream recycling. The material would then be put into tractor trailers and taken to single stream materials recovery facilities in the tri-state area. Each district member town should privatize the collection or recyclables as they do with trash hauling. The systems for trash transfer, recycling and composting are in place around the area. The district in its current form is expensive to run. When market values are low it takes more to make more. I don’t see this trend at W.S.W.M.D.
The District would still need to act as a regulatory agency to ensure compliance with state mandates. All other functions would be done by the private sector. Post-closure funds were set aside in 1995 when the landfill closed. Assessments to the towns would be greatly reduced. Each town would then be on a "pay as you throw" program. The towns without trash transfer stations would operate the transfer station on Old Ferry Road. The towns with transfer stations then would not pay for running the Distract transfer station as they are already paying for their own. Joseph Kowalski,
Melbourne, Fla., Nov. 29