Refuse district seeks more vendors for beverage containers

Station manager says “no place to put them”
Posted:  Sunday, July 15, 2018 - 8:30am

To some, Maine’s returnable beverage containers aren’t even worth a plugged nickel. Instead of taking returnable cans and bottles to a redemption center, locals forsake the five cent deposit and take thousands to the Boothbay Region Refuse Disposal District.

Approximately $13,000 worth per year end up at BRRDD and that number is growing, according to Operations Manager Steve Lewis. In past years, the district has contracted with local redemption centers for collection. But in recent months, several have folded leaving a heavy burden on a few remaining vendors. This has resulted in the district storing more returnable beverage containers for longer periods.

During the July 12 board meeting, Lewis explained how the local transfer station receives more returnables than others around the region. During a recent Maine Recovery Resource Association meeting, Lewis asked his colleagues about returnable containers.

“I wanted to see how others handled the situation. They told me about $1,500 annually. When they asked me, I told them about 10 times that,” Lewis said.

Since more transfer stations are seeking services from a continuously shrinking pool of redemption centers, BRRDD has begun searching for more places to send its increasing number of returnables. A district employee visited centers in Bath, Chelsea and Randolph asking about them accepting Boothbay region returnables.

“There is really no one out there who can take them. We’re at the point where we might have to crush them and walk away from the money, because there is no place to put them,” Lewis said.

In other action, the district amended its purchase agreement for Giles Rubbish. In June, the district bought Giles Rubbish for $1.363 million. The purchase included receiving $65,000 of pending accounts receivable with any revenue above that figure sent to Giles.

As Giles Rubbish began receiving account receivable payments, office staff found it difficult to track in the bookkeeping system. This led to Lewis and Giles discussing a simpler approach. Giles accepted a final $3,500 payment which board members approved 4-0.

“It was a hard number to track in the billing system so we got together and came up with something agreeable to both of us,” Lewis said.

The district received an update about a June accident at the facility. A man was treated for minor cuts after falling into the No. 1 compactor. The man was retrieving barrels from his truck, Lewis told board members.

“I wasn’t there, but I was told the gates weren’t operational so when he opened his tailgate, he lost his balance and fell in. The man was taken to Urgent Care and treated without any major injuries.”

The gates have since been repaired. Lewis reported the gates are often damaged and unusable due to drivers backing into them.

The directors will meet next at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 in the business office in Boothbay.