Come mid-June, users of the transfer station in Mashpee will be required to separate out their recyclable materials rather than using the practice known as single-stream.
The Mashpee Department of Public Works will begin a soft rollout of the new system on Monday, June 3, when the new stickers go on sale. Full implementation will start June 17.
To help with the rollout, the town received up to $6,000 in a grant from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Funds can be used for signage, flyers, and other materials to let residents know about the changes.
MassDEP announced its Recycle Smart initiative last year that promotes better recycling for municipalities across the commonwealth. Aside from helping towns educate residents on minimizing contamination in waste streams (which can clog up processing equipment), the state also awarded grants to processing plants to help upgrade their sorting machines.
With the new system in Mashpee, residents will separate materials—glass, cans, newspaper, mixed paper, and plastics No. 1 through No. 7—into separate bins at the transfer station rather than dumping them all into one container.
The mixed-paper recycling market changed when China, which previously accepted much of the country’s paper, changed its policies. The country no longer accepts much of the paper. Also, the glass market in the region has been in turmoil because a local bottle plant shuttered recently.
As a result, “single-stream” recycling rates have skyrocketed. In 2017, the town paid $25 per ton for single-stream recycling. The estimated price currently is more than $100 a ton.
Separating products into different bins, however, can save the town money. The market for newspaper, cardboard, and cans can make money for the town, whereas mixed paper mixed in with other items can end up costing the town more money to get rid of materials. Mashpee also likely will send its glass to a new facility in Dennis that will crush the glass into a fine material that can be used as aggregate.