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Conference Explores Best Ways to Deal with Waste 

Some people set it out on the curb and forget about it.But others, whose job it is to deal with all your trash and recycling, are thinking about better ways to dispose of all that waste. We visited a conference in Rockport with that goal in mind.It’s a big job, dealing with all the waste Mainers produce. But the focus of this year’s Maine Recycling and Solid Waste conference is reducing the impact of it all on the environment, and the economy.”People don’t realize how much of the town budgets are taken up by solid waste issues. After schools and roads, and in some cases even more than the roads, solid waste is the second or third line item on the budget,” says John Albertini.Albertini works for the Maine Resource Recovery Association, which puts on the conference. He says it’s paying to get rid of solid waste, by taking it to the landfill or incinerator, that’s so expensive.”So anything they can do to recycle to reduce their tonnage going to the incinerator or landfill reduces the cost to the taxpayer,” he says.More than two hundred people came to town for the two-day conference, representing municipalities across the state.”The emphasis a lot of people are thinking about today are the finances,” says Jerry Hughes, with Bangor Public Works.”Especially in the Bangor area. We’re thinking about efficiency and what we can do to work more productively, thinking about recycling and how we can manage that as economically feasibly as possible,” he says.Hughes tells us the recycling committee in Bangor is already looking into several new ideas.Albertini hopes all the folks here go home with new ways to help their waste and recycling programs run more efficiently, and let citizens in on their ideas, too.”To let their citizens know what they can do and what services are offered by their town to recycle, compost or minimize their waste stream,” he says. “So they understand that waste is expensive.”