The Board of Selectmen, in its on going effort to increase the amount of recyclable materials removed from our solid waste stream, wishes to take this opportunity to update Lyme residents on various recycling related matters. The latest CT Department of Environmental Protection statistics indicate a significant improvement in the town’s recycling rate and we encourage everyone to redouble their efforts to do better still.

Our recycling percentage increased from 29.78% for fiscal year 2007-2008 to 32.20% for the 2009-2010 fiscal year just concluded. Annual improvement will be crucial if Lyme is to avoid provisions in a new state statute which will mandate institution of a curbside recycling service should the town fall below the three year state average. The statewide percentage for the last available year was 25.45 per cent.

While Lyme remains comfortably ahead of the threshold at this point, the advent of single stream recycling in larger municipalities will ultimately boost the state average so we cannot rest on our laurels. The Board of Selectmen wishes to avoid having to impose another costly, mandated municipal service on already overburdened property taxpayers and as private citizens it is safe to say none of us wishes to retain the services of a private hauler to pick up our recyclables which is the mandated alternative.

Lyme’s primary recycling facility is located at the town garage on Route 156 behind the Hamburg fire station. There are two thirty yard roll offs under the pole barn for the disposal of various kinds of  paper, cans, bottles and plastics. Acceptable paper types include: magazines, newspaper, office paper, phone books, junk mail and cereal box cardboard. Please remove any wax or foil liners from the boxes. The other bin is for glass bottles, metal cans, numbered plastics types one through seven as well as fiber board juice and milk containers. Containers for automotive products, pesticides, herbicides or poisons are not accepted. There is a separate container for corrugated cardboard on the concrete pad next to the pole barn. Please flatten this material before putting it in the bin.

In addition, there are tanks for waste oil and antifreeze under the lean to section of the garage on the east side of the building. There are also pallets for car batteries situated in this location.

Scrap metal, tires and propane gas tanks may be disposed of at the town landfill on Brush Hill Road. There is a ten dollar charge for refrigerators, air conditioners or any other appliance containing refrigerants. There is also a charge for tires and gas tanks based on their size, as well as a recently increased levy of fifteen dollars for mattresses, box springs, couches and similar types of furniture as they are no longer buried on site.  These “user fees” are determined by what it costs the town to dispose of these items.

Lyme also provides frequent opportunities for responsible disposal of other waste materials. From springtime through the fall residents may dispose of household hazardous waste at the planning region’s permanent HHW facility in Essex. Schedules and details concerning acceptable materials are available at local venues, the town web page or which is our Regional Planning Agency’s web site. The same holds true for consumer electronics which are presently collected at periodic regional events in Essex but hopefully soon will be brought to our landfill on a more regular, local basis.

Given the fact that the town garage facility is open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and handles the bulk of the recyclables we generate, it would not seem to be an overly difficult task to boost Lyme’s recycling rate higher still. Further, it makes sense to do this as the alternative will be increased costs for all of  us if we fall below the state average for the percentage of recyclable materials removed from the solid waste stream. We are doing well and should aspire to do even better.