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Donchess says recycling costs are up 100-fold

NASHUA – Mayor Jim Donchess is frustrated by the city’s recycling costs, as well as the fact that officials cannot seem to get anyone to actually recycle glass at all.

During the Thursday Ward 9 town hall-style meeting, Donchess told residents recycling is rapidly getting more difficult and expensive.

“We have gone in Nashua from paying 80 cents a ton for disposal to $80 dollars a ton. So, it’s gone up 100 times, and that happened in like three months,” Donchess told the audience.

Earlier this year, city officials had to bolster the Solid Waste Department’s budget by $120,000 just to have enough money to keep the recycling program going through June 30. “This current fiscal year it actually cost $500,000 to dispose of the recycling,” Donchess said on Thursday.

Donchess said the recyclables had gone to China for some time. However, China no longer wants as much recyclable material, which is leading to significant market changes. Some communities across the U.S. have done away with recycling programs altogether because of the massive cost increase.

“China decides they don’t want to take recycling and the markets completely collapsed,” Donchess said.

Donchess said the city has a contract with Casella Waste Systems of Rutland, Vermont. He said Casella officials are telling Nashua leaders the company has been landfilling the glass recyclables they receive. Furthermore, Donchess said the city does not really know what happens to the material when shipped out of Nashua. He said it supposedly ends up somewhere in Southeast Asia.

He said both the cost and the question of what is happening to these materials is troubling, questioning if it really is being reused or landfilled somewhere else.

Nonetheless, the hope is that markets improve because this $500,000 recycling bill is money Nashua did not previously need to spend.

“It is something we as a community need to think about more,” Donchess said.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.