- The Windham Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors voted 13-10 to close its material recovery facility in Brattleboro, VT — which services all of Windham County — at a meeting on Dec. 8, as reported by the Brattleboro Reformer.
- A prior decision by Brattleboro, the county's largest town, to start sending its recyclables to a Casella facility in Rutland was seen as a factor. This would have increased costs for the remaining towns.
- The district's MRF will close on July 1. Employees will be offered a one-month retention bonus for staying on until the end. The closure is expected to cost about $94,000 and the building may be converted to process organic waste.
While Brattleboro's decision also involved some complicated internal politics, the town's switch to a new single-stream processor was driven by expected cost savings and the ability for residents to recycle more materials. Plastics numbered 3-7 were not being recycled in the current system because of their low value.
The district's vote comes a little more than 20 years after it decided to begin recycling and may be indicative of a larger change in Vermont. Since the state passed new recycling requirements, some towns have had to reconsider the costs of their programs. Overall the new requirements have been seen as a success so far with the state's diversion rate increasing in 2015.
This shift to single-stream follows a similar national trend that has made it the predominant type of processing available. Though as recently seen in one Pennsylvania county, the concept may not be right for everyone. Local factors and accessibility to end markets create different factors for each municipality as they cope with tough commodity prices at the moment.