By Dustin Luca
---- — ANDOVER — With limited recycling options for town residents, the Andover Recycling Committee wants the town’s future Town Yard to give Andoverites a one-stop recycling destination.
How much can be recycled depends on how much Town Yard space would be set aside. But any plan, even with minimal space, would be better than the curbside pickup of glass, bottles and cans that currently happens every two weeks, according to committee Chairman Keith Saxon.
“If for whatever reason you miss it, you have a month of recycling (building up at home),” Saxon said. “If you had a place to bring just a single stream, that would be great.”
Andover has “a lot of small businesses in town that want to recycle. They have a lot of cardboard and paper, and they hate to throw it out,” Saxon said. “A lot of people want to do the right thing.”
In its current form, the committee’s proposal exists as three parts — plans, really. The “basic” plan, needing 500 to 2,000 square feet of space, would give a home to recycling a single stream of glass, plastics and tin cans. With more space, residents could also recycle fluorescent light bulbs, electronics like televisions and computer monitors, and scrap metal.
“Silver” and “Gold” level space availability, needing up to 25,000 square feet and anywhere from 1.5 to 10 acres respectively, would give the town much greater recycling power. It could give recycling hazardous wastes, wood wastes, Department of Public Works materials and even a reuse or “swap shop” area a home in Andover.
“People have a ladder or filing cabinet. They put it out in their trash and we pay $70 a ton to get rid of it,” Saxon said. “Scrap metal has a high value. If you had a container at the dropoff to get scrap metal, the town gets the money.”
While she supports the idea, acting Plant and Facilities Director Maria Maggio said it isn’t currently a part of the ongoing Town Yard discussion.
“Right now, it’s not part of the space planning. It wasn’t part of that,” she said. “I think it’s a very good idea, but depending on where we locate the Town Yard.”
Chris Cronin, acting director of the town’s Department of Public Works, said he supports recycling at the Town Yard so much that “it will be part of my agenda to seriously consider a recycling aspect to this” if space is available.
“If we’re going to be building a new Town Yard, we should include a drop-off,” he said. “There’s a great demand for it in town, and it’s something that should be included.
“I think it would be very popular,” Cronin added. “We have a group of people who strongly support it now. Even better than that, the program is almost guaranteed to grow as it gets easier.”
If the town were to rebuild the Town Yard at its current home on Lewis Street, there would be less space available. It would still be possible to incorporate recycling there though, Cronin said.
While he said the committee “certainly hear” from people who want more done about recycling in town, the next step is to get more vocal with town officials, according to Saxon.
“We’re going to build a new Town Yard one way or the other, and we’re going to spend X millions of dollars. This can be incorporated for an extra zero dollars, or a marginal increase,” he said. “You just have to plan for it, and you have to have the space first.”