Naples hears offers for future disposal needs

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As Naples reaches the end of their contract with Regional Waste Systems (RWS), there has been much trash talk going on at Board of Selectmen meetings.

For five years now, RWS has handled the disposal of Naples solid waste and recycling, and Pine Tree Waste has been responsible for the hauling of that garbage to the RWS site in Portland. Now Pine Tree has offered to cover the full garbage gamut, from hauling to disposal, while RWS negotiates for renewal of their contract with the town.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 2, Kevin Roach, general manager of RWS, spoke before the board in an attempt to convince the selectmen to sign another five-year contract with the company. RWS is a non-profit solid waste management corporation that services 27 cities and towns in Maine. Roach argued that the company’s “regional approach” to waste management gave Naples a greater ability to deal with waste management issues by combining the efforts of surrounding towns who are RWS members.

Roach also talked of the company’s dedication to the environment. RWS is the only municipal waste management company in Maine that is I.S.O. certified. According to Roach, the company not only meets Maine’s environmental standards, but surpasses them. RWS also converts garbage into energy by burning the trash in a boiler. The boilers then emit steam that goes through turbines to generate electricity. The company uses 15 percent of this energy to fully power their “waste-to-energy” plant and sells the remainder to the Constellation Energy Group.

Roach offered the selectmen a discounted tipping fee (fee for the disposal of the town’s garbage) from $107.41 to $93.60 per ton as part of a five-year agreement. This discount didn’t woo the selectmen who have seen the town’s tipping fees steadily rise during their time with RWS.

At the meeting on May 16, Karen McNaughton of Pine Tree Waste spoke before the board to offer the council an open-ended proposal to cover all of the town’s garbage needs with a lower tipping fee than RWS at $78 per ton. Pine Tree Waste, the largest recycling company in Maine, just recently acquired a new incinerator, known as Maine Energy, in Biddeford where Naples garbage would be disposed of if the town were to sign a contract with the company.

“Maine Energy is an incinerator that houses multiples of disposal for many communities in Southern Maine,” McNaughton said. “My proposal to Derik Goodine (Town Manager) was to offer you folks disposal services, saving you about $10 per ton. And when I ran out the calculation over three or four years, it’s fairly substantial, depending on how long you are interested and what kind of contract. But I calculated about $50,000 to $60,000 over the course of the contract term that you’d save in the trash incineration at Maine Energy rather than your current supplier.”

McNaughton expressed that this was an open offer that Naples could consider now or in the future if the board chose to sign another contract with RWS. The board of selectman has not as of yet made any decision on the matter. Pine Tree Waste will continue to handle Naples’ hauling needs, regardless of the board’s decision.

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