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Waste Reduction and Recyling

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The VCS Recycling Initiative Survey

The VCS Recycling Initiative, led by former board member David Nash, recently conducted a survey of recycling efforts on Martha’s Vineyard. The team’s report explores the recycling methods available to government, restaurants, caterers, and other small businesses, with special attention to impacts on our marine environment and the challenges of recycling “on the go.”

The survey found that while recycling is already quite widespread and effective on the Vineyard, many areas for improvement remain. Suggestions are provided based on the results of the survey, ranging from the simple (reminders on the office fridge) to the ambitious (town-wide mandatory recycling). In addition, they identified setbacks, such as reductions in curbside pickup, and other obstacles to expanding recycling efforts that could be addressed with future advocacy.

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Government and Small Business

Part 3: Recycling "On-the-Go"

Part 4: Restaurants

Part 5: The Marine Environment

Part 6: Final Thoughts

Is Tisbury’s recent decision to cut back on the materials that they recycle a mistake?
By David Nash

Recently, the Tisbury Public Works Department announced that various recyclables would no longer be accepted at the town facility. As reported in the Gazette, in an effort to control costs, Fred Lapiana, the Director of the Tisbury Public Works Department, had decided to end the recycling of certain paper materials. These included office paper, cereal boxes, inserts, junk mail and other materials and instead accept only newspaper and corrugated cardboard. All of the paper products no longer being accepted would be disposed of as trash.
Mr. Lapiana explained that this was done in an effort to reduce costs. Newspaper and corrugated demand a much higher return in the recyclables market that do these other materials so by separating out all of the less valuable materials the costs involved in the handling of newspaper and corrugated would result in a better price for the town.

As a former manager of state environmental programs, I have to question this move. Yes, cost pricing and marketability of recyclables are complicated issues and often result in market fluctuations which cause cost increases. But abandoning these other materials simply due to cost increases is clearly a step backwards in efforts to decrease our consumption of raw materials and decrease the amount of waste we generate. All of these materials will now be disposed of as trash, transported to incinerators and burned. The benefits of generating some electricity do not outweigh the benefits of recycling all materials that can be reused

Tisbury residents should contact Mr. Lapiana, their selectmen and the members of the Public Works board to express their concern over this decision. If current market conditions require that an increase in fees is needed to maintain existing recycling levels then perhaps the ratepayers should have a voice in such a decision.

According to the Tisbury website, current board members are John Thayer, chair; Leo DeSorcy Jr.; Arthue Dickson; David Ferguzzi and Fred Thifault.

David Nash is a former board member who worked for over 30 years as a manager in the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection responsible for programs which regulated sources of air pollution, hazardous waste and solid waste.

Recycling drop-off options by town                                                

    > Aquinnah

    > Chilmark

    > Edgartown

    > Oak Bluffs

    > Tisbury

Recycling pick-up options

There are three waste management companies on the Island that offer residential and
commercial pick up options.

SAVE THE DATE for Household Hazardous Waste Day:
4 times a year, the 3rd Saturday in May, July, Sept, Nov, at the
Edgartown Transfer Station, West Tisbury Rd, Edgartown.
For more info, call (508) 627-4501