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ecomaine: Intern Pilot Program Led To Significant Cuts In Recycling Contamination

Waste management company ecomaine says a pilot project that sent recycling interns into several communities last summer was a success, reducing contamination by about 5 percent.

  ecomaine spokesperson Matt Grondin says Falmouth, Scarborough, South Portland and Windham participated in the pilot program, and some are still seeing benefits.


"We have heard from Windham in particular that, since the pilot project ended, they've actually had zero rejected loads of recycling," Grondin says. "You know, the contamination rate has really gone through the floor for them."


And for some communities, Grondin says, that can help the bottom line.

"Some of these communities started at a lower benchmark in terms of the contamination they were seeing. But in a couple of the communities we really did see savings of almost $10,000."


A crash in the global recycling market in 2018 caused hefty fees for Maine municipalities if their recycling was contaminated with too much trash. 


Grondin says the pilot program, which typically sent two interns into each community to educate residents about proper recycling, cost about $5,000 dollars. He says ecomaine hopes more communities will establish recycling intern programs this summer.