At the May 9, 2023 annual town meeting, residents voted to change the name of the Recycling Committee to the Recycling and Sustainability Committee, a permanent committee consisting of 7 or more members dedicated to improving Pembroke's recycling rate and public education and projects aimed at resource management and conservation efforts, with outreach focus areas to include waste reduction and recycling, home efficiency tips including power and water, eco-friendly home and lawn maintenance and gardening, home chemical and pesticide alternatives and home resource conservation education. (article 13, ATM 5/9/2023).
On April 26, 2011, Pembroke voters at town meeting held a robust debate and voted at the Special within the Annual Town Meeting (article 7) to implement a single stream, curbside recycling program in Pembroke, and fund $280,000 to supplement a grant obtained to purchase receptacles known as Toters.
The Town of Pembroke then implemented curbside, single stream recycling in July of 2011. Each residence in the town was issued a sixty-four (64) gallon, custom Toter with a unique serial number. This number is located on the Toter and on each resident’s municipal user’s fee bill, mailed to them each July and January. This initiative was funded through a grant received by the Town with the balance paid for by the Town (article 7, ATM 4/26/2011).
The debate was comprehensive with both matters financial versus environmental thoroughly vetted to the Town Meeting body’s satisfaction. At that time, residents chose single stream recycling and the market has been volatile over the years.
Single stream recycling is when all allowable recyclable material is comingled in one 64 gallon Toter curbside. The material is placed in one separate truck hauled by the town’s contractor to a Recycling Station for sorting of the comingled material. Costs at the Station are currently $93/ton (September 2019).
Dual sorting allows the recyclable material to be separated in an effort to maximize the recyclable material that has value both economically and environmentally; maximizing the value of high end recyclables such as cardboard can help offset the cost of transport and disposal of less desirable recyclables found in the comingled stream. The materials would then be hauled in either separate trucks (requiring additional trucks from the contractor at a cost to be determined) or in separated trucks (requiring different trucks from the contractor at a cost to be determined).
At their meeting of September 17, 2019, the Board of Selectmen requested that the Recycling Committee be charged with the task of the following:
- evaluate the costs of bringing dual stream curbside recycling collection to Pembroke
- determine whether the residents want to invest in this changeover by funding the additional costs to do so
- determine dual stream recycling’s affordability by analyzing all costs, direct and incidental, and make a formal recommendation to the Board of Selectmen (and town meeting, if necessary) regarding whether or not this change is a good fit for the town
This committee will need seven (7) enthusiastic and committed individuals to do the work involved in this charge from the Board. If you have the time to commit to monthly or semi-weekly evening meetings, please consider volunteering by completing this vacancy application and returning to the Selectmen’s Office at 100 Center Street, Room #10, by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 781-293-4650.