Chatham To Begin Separate Newspaper Recycling Jan. 1

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Recycling and Solid Waste

This mixed paper container at the Chatham Transfer Station's recycling area will be used strictly for newspaper recycling as of Jan. 1. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – Beginning Jan. 1, residents will be asked to recycle newspapers separately.

Newspapers were previously included with mixed paper, all thrown in together into two large containers at the recycling area at the town's transfer station off Sam Ryder Road. The decision to ask people to separate newspapers from other paper stems from recent changes in the recycling industry, said Department of Public Works Director Tom Temple. The changes are global, the result of China's decision to accept less mixed recyclables from the west because of contamination.

“This is still the trickle down from that,” Temple said.

The good news is that the town can actually get revenue for recycling newspapers, while it must pay to dispose of most other recyclables.

“We're paying for almost everything we recycle now,” Temple said. It still costs less to dispose of recyclables than it does to send solid waste to the SEMASS waste-to-energy plant. Most of the town's recycables are sent to E.L. Harvey and Sons in Westborough.

One of the two bins at the recycling center that are now used for mixed paper will be dedicated to newspapers. Temple said there will be signs informing residents about the change, and at least at the outset he expects to station an employee there to explain the situation.

Excluding construction waste, mixed paper is one of the largest categories of recyclables coming into the transfer station. In 2017, residents recycled 239 tons of mixed paper. This year's amount is even higher; as of November, 252.3 tons of mixed paper were recycled.