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Putting the Word Out About Garbage

Mayor's Assistant on a Mission to Educate Residents About Recycling

If Mayor Rodolico’s assistant, Mark Bancroft, is becoming known as “the Garbage Czar,” it is because he has been going around the town spreading the word about single stream recycling, curbside collection schedules and other waste-related information.

For example, did you know that if you gather up your leaves in biodegradable (paper) bags and make an appointment for pick-up by calling 800 391-3592 or 860 887-8352, those leave will disappear, almost like magic?

Bancroft has been dropping off information packets that spell it all out – what are acceptable recycling items, what are the dumping fees, where and when hazardous materials may be discarded, even the holidays on which there is no garbage collection in town.

One thing you may not find in all this information (I couldn’t find it) is what Bancroft describes as “the $100 swing” for every ton of discarded recyclables. But first, let’s do a quick recylables review.

Here's what CANNOT be recycled: 

  • Plastic bags
  • Garden hoses
  • Light bulbs
  • Needles and syringes (and other hazardous materials)
  • Paper towels
  • Styro-foam/food waste in containers

As you can see, it’s a pretty short list.

Here’s what may be recycled:

  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Clean aluminum foil
  • Clean aluminum pans and containers
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Plastic bottles and tubs #1-7
  • Paper milk and juice cartons
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Newspapers (for those who still subscribe to newspapers)
  • Office (copier) paper and folders
  • Glass bottles – all colors
  • Shoe and cereal bottles
  • Metal pots and pans
  • Coat hangers
  • Aluminum and other metal cans
  • Phone books
  • Junk mail
  • Paperback books

It is possible that you may also be allowed to recycle hard-bound books, although they may be considered “Bulky Waste.” Especially if they were written by Jackie Collins. 

Just kidding!

Now, here’s the $100 swing. This is math, so focus:

The town pays $65 for every ton of material that goes into the Preston incinerator.

BUT, the town receives $35 or every ton of recycled material.

Therefore, every ton of waste that is kept out of the incinerator (save $65) and recycled (collect an additional $35) represents a savings of $100 to the town.

Bulky Waste

Household furniture, scrap wood (no sheet rock or plaster), White Goods (e.g., appliances), miscellaneous metals and leaves all are considered bulky waste. The good news is that Ledyard residents are allowed two pick-ups per calendar year.

Simply gather up your bulky waste, pile it on the curb, and make an appointment for pick-up by calling one of these numbers: 800 391-3592 or 860 887-8352.

Don’t forget to call. If you don’t call, your bulky waste will sit there indefinitely, and may end up pictured on one of several popular community Facebook pages in town. 

Here are some more useful tidbits:

Residents whose bulky waste needs exceed two pick-ups per year may bring waste directly to the town transfer station on J. Alfred Clark Way, off Col. Ledyard Highway (Rte. 117). There is normally a charge for this.

There is no charge for many items, however, including leaves and brush, car batteries, scrap metal and waste oil, to name a few. There is a small fee for tires and freon-bearing appliances.

The transfer station is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays, unless there is another hurricane, in which case it might just stay open like it did during Irene.

Curbside collection deviates from the normal schedule six times a year for the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In each instance collection will move ahead by one day for that week.

The regular collection schedule will not be affected by any other holidays. Not MLK Day. Not Valentine’s Day. Not Good Friday. Not even Cinco de Mayo.

The Hazardous Waste Collection schedule will be published in the spring. Hazardous wastes include oil-based paints, stains and thinners, old gasoline, car battery acid, insecticides, fungicides, moth balls, rat poison and much, much more.

One last thing: If any part of this is still clear as mud to you, please call the Public Works Department at 464-9060, Ext. 3.

Or call Mark Bancroft, "the Garbage Czar," at 860 464-3222.

Bill Saums January 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Great article, thank you Patch, and thank you Mr. Bancroft! Ledyard can save a LOT of money - the more recyclables we separate, the more we save.
Sharon Stegall January 20, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Useful information, thank you. The Jackie Collins reference cracked me up!
Ralph January 20, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I assume batteries should be on the short list of non-recyclables?
Bill Thorndike January 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Hi Ralph: Good question. There is a new recycling program for rechargeable batteries and cell phones. I called the Public Works number above and was told that there are recycling containers at the transfer station for both non-rechargeable (flashlight) and rechargeable batteries, including nickel cadmium, nickel hydride and lithium ion batteries. Also containers for old cell phones. Hope that helps.
Tina January 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Very nice article! Let's save the green by being green!!
Alexa January 20, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Great information! Thank you.
Kevin January 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM
The recycling program is great and a valuable asset for the town. With the additional materials now included, however, there is a need for more recycling bins, which are apparently unavailable. If indeed the program is providing economic advantages to the waste collection program, surely the investment in additional containers will pay for itself by increasing the amount of diverted materials.
Monique Dupuis January 20, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I believe that more batteries would be recycled, AAA, AA, C, D, etc., if there were more sites to dispose of them. I find it a long trek to go to the landfill to dispose of one battery. Could keep them till they accumulate, but one more bag hanging around. As long as it is easier to dispose of batteries in the trash, there will be less batteries being recycled.
Mark January 20, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I do save household batteries when they go dead. I fill coffee cans with them until I have 4 or 5 cans full. I then put them in plastic grocery bags and take them to the transfer station. I took a bag just this week (1/18/12). The attendant told me NOT to bring batteries that were not clearly mark RECYCLE on them. I told him I read these were not to go to the landfill as they are bad for the Earth. He informed me to put them in the regular trash and they would go to the incinerator. It seems to me this is the wrong practice, as batteries are heavy, thus leading to more tonnage to pay for, rather than getting that money back by recycling. Any comments?
LiveForFreedom January 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM
The Ledyard recycling program is working well. Thanks for the well written article. The recycling initiative needs to be promoted to all the townspeople. I would like to see the fees reduced for some items so that I do not see abandoned tires in the woods when hiking. This is useful information and residents should print this out for reference. The article states that residents have two heavy trash pick ups per calendar year. Some people may still be confused about recycling large tube televisions, computer monitors, computer desk tops, and small appliances.
Kenneth Koe January 20, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Since the green goody-doers are gung-ho to get everyone to use CFL bulbs and get rid of incandescent light bulbs, I don't see advice on what to do with burnt out, mercury-containing CFL bulbs.
Naomi Rodriguez January 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Ken, Give them to me. I save them and then take them to Dow in November during their Non-Hazardous Waste Day. There is one in a different town once a month starting in April. When I get the current list I will give a copy to Bill Thorndike to post in the Patch. I also collect batteries and cell phones. Ledyard Center School has small bins in the main lobby where we put in batteries, used cell phones and the CFL light bulbs are hand delivered to me by parents. We also collect juice pouches. LCS has been doing this for three or four years. If a parent has a child attending LCS they will know about recycling - all elementary schools have this program (the Green Team). It's smart for the environment, our community AND it saves Ledyard money. This shows the children how to give back to their community. Not a bad idea!!!
Bill Saums January 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Kevin, I believe you're right. However, you can use any garbage can for recyling by clearly marking it Recyclables. The town has a recommendation from the regional resource recovery agency to purchase additional bins. I'll bring this up during this year's budget discussions, beginning in about a month (if it's not already being addressed).
mike campbell January 20, 2012 at 06:04 PM
can anyone please explain why i'm still chasing these stupid nickels down with my soda & beer cans & bottles?it seems that we say recycling is this great thing (i agree),except this small group of cans & bottles.these we need to charge a nickel & have the customer take their trash to the grocery store.
Donna Kenyon January 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I have a question, I just shredded a ton of personal paperwork and put it in a plastic garbage bag for now but would like to know how I can dispose of it as paper without the plastic bag of course. Would putting it in the leaf bags and marking it PAPER NOT LEAVES be a good idea? Suggestions???
Naomi Rodriguez January 21, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Donna, I don't know what kind of shredder you have, but mine is one that crosscuts. I place my shredded papers in a paper bag and place it in my recycling bin (for paper and cardboard). My recycling bin is not from the town - it is a regular trash can that I ordered from Holdridge's ($17, light blue color). I marked on the trash can "Paper". This bin is filled to the top every week with paper and cardboard. The blue recycling bin from the town is where I put my glass and plastics. I hope this was helpful.
Bill Thorndike January 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Hi Naomi: Thanks for responding to Donna. I wasn't sure the best way to handle her situation, and I think you solved the problem.
Sarah January 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
When Sterling took over, I got a one page flier in the mail that explained the bulky waste pick ups, recycling and phone numbers to call Sterling. It also lists the transfer station hours and numbers and what they collect for free and for fee. I have kept it all these years in my address book and found it to be a great resourse. I think it came with a Park & Rec. mailing. I wonder if the cost of mailing something to each address in Ledyard would be off set by people recycling imore f they had the updated information.
Donna Kenyon January 21, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Thank you, Naomi and Bill for your info. Sarah, I kept mine too and refer to it all the time. Can't say it wouldn't hurt for a reprint to be sent out.
Jen Woo January 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Sarah, you made the best point of all.
Jen Woo January 23, 2012 at 12:52 AM
The town needs to take care of the taxpayer's best interest. It is called communication!
N. Alex Bancroft January 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Another great way to reduce our waste is to consider composting all non-animal product and by-product food waste. In our kitchen we use an old large kitty litter bucket with lid to toss fruit and vegetable scraps in and a few times a week dump it into our large compost container outside. Makes wonderful compost for our gardens and reduces our trash.
Nancy January 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I presume in the recycle list that "shoe and cereal bottles" means boxes? That gave me a chuckle this morning. Also, is this " information packet" available online through the town's website? If not, why not have it there also?

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