Over 70 percent of Scituate households use the transfer station, and many more are making the effort to recycle.
This is something Dorie Stolley likes to hear.
Stolley is the recycling education and compliance officer with the South Shore Recycling Cooperative.
The cooperative’s message is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Right, and Stolley’s job is to help people do just that. Starting Jan. 25, and for about one month, she will be spending three days per week at the Scituate Transfer Station answering questions about recycling, guiding people to the right receptacles, and explaining some of the new recycling policies.
“The SSRC is an excellent organization because it brings towns together to go over common issues,” said Scituate DPW Director Kevin Cafferty, who served as the chairman on the Board of Directors for the cooperative from 2013 to 2016.
Things can be confusing when it comes to recycling, Stolley said.
“Most people want to recycle smart and do the right thing,” she said. “I’ll be able to see what and how people are recycling and help them to do better. I like interacting with people.”
Stolley admits to a fascination with trash and recycling, which started when she participated in conducting marine debris surveys in Plymouth through NOAA.
“I would help to clean up the beaches of all the stuff that gets into the water and then is washed up on land,” she said. “It was very interesting what we found there. It made me wonder, what can we do to reduce this?”
Not only is recycling important for the environment, it’s also important to the town’s pocketbook.
“The town has to pay to dispose of our regular trash,” Cafferty said. “We pay significantly less for recycling. Recycling is graded. The better grade you get for recycling the better value you get, and that means less cost to consumers to run the transfer station.”
The recent single use plastic bag ban in Scituate, and bans already in effect in other South Shore towns, is a wake-up call, Stolley said.
“Plastic bags can no longer be recycled anymore. The bags can get caught and wound around some of the sorting machinery. Workers have to stop the machines and crawl in and cut the bags out. It can be dangerous. There are other things that can get caught up in the machinery such as chords, wires, chains, rope, Christmas lights. We call these things ‘tanglers’ because they get tangled up in the machinery.”
Tanglers should not be placed in recycle bins, Stolley said.
Plastic in all forms is a huge issue when it comes to recycling and protecting the environment.
In Scituate, plastic containers such as milk gallon containers and laundry detergent bottles can be recycled. Stolley said to wash them out and then replace the cap on them before dropping them in the appropriate receptacle.
The same goes for cans, as well as glass bottles and jars.
Microwavable plastics and prescription pill bottles are also no longer accepted, nor are Kleenex, tissue or low quality paper.
Cardboard is accepted, and cardboard boxes should be broken down before being dropped into the receptacle.
Anything containing food or liquid, or food or liquid residue, cannot be recycled. Diapers cannot be recycled.
Styrofoam is not recyclable and should be put in the trash.
“Or you can go online and find places that will take it,” Stolley said. “UPS or other stores that repackage things can reuse Styrofoam peanuts.”
Recycling has been distilled down to some pretty clear rules, Stolley said.
“Now our motto is, ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’”
There is a science to it, Stolley said.
“It’s not like anyone is making this up. There is data out there on how we can make a healthier environment, not only for people now, but for those in the future, and for wildlife. It’s important everyone does their part. And people are trying, and I’m really appreciative of that.”
For more information on the South Shore Recycling Cooperative visit ssrcoop.info.