Andover seeks to enforce recycling laws

Town losing money over ordinance violation

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By Rose Sgarlato
— Andover Township is on a mission to bring public awareness to a recycling ordinance that has been in place for five years. In some cases, the ordinance is being violated, causing the town to lose money.

According to Andover Township Recycling Coordinator Robyn Hattersly, random and unidentified people are going into Andover neighborhoods and collecting items and trading them at salvage yards for cash.

“It seems innocent especially in these poor economic times. However, it's stealing, in a very real way, from the municipalities,” Hattersly said.

The ordinance, adopted on Aug. 8, 2009 reads as follows: “From the time of curbside placement during scheduled recycling pickup and/or bulky waste events, if permitted, all designated materials shall be and will become the property of the Township of Andover. It shall be a violation of this article for any person unauthorized by the Township of Andover to collect or pick up or cause to be collected or picked up any such recyclables or materials. Each such collection in violation hereof from one or more properties shall constitute a separate and distinct offense punishable as hereinafter provided.”

”Contractually most towns will be paying for this service if the haulers are picking up metals or not. In addition, it impacts the recycling numbers that municipalities are able to put on their annual tonnage report to the state, therefore lowering any grant money they may be entitled to.” Hattersly said.

Large recyclable pick-ups occur the last Wednesday of every month. Hattersley said that people call her department to request a large metal pick-up such as a refrigerator. She then contacts a sanitation company to pick up at those specific addresses.

Requests range anywhere from two to 15 pick-ups a month, according to Hattersly.

“In June we had about six pick-ups. But often what happens is people go around Tuesday night and take things off the street,” she said. “Salvage yards are paying good money for metals.”

The situation is further complicated because the recycling department has no way of knowing who is doing it and when it occurs. Either way they are paying for the pick-up, but not getting the return.

Blue Diamond supplies the tonnage report based on what they are bringing to the landfill, and eventually the township receives credit from the state, which varies depending on the state allocation of available funda and the preferred commodity.

Recently, the township received $9,000 in grant money for recyclables.

“Each year, the commodity is assigned differently depending on what the commodity is valued at. This year metal and electronics are big,” Hattersly said. “The money we receive goes toward programs at schools.”

Violations will result in fines starting from $100 for the first offense going up to $750 for the third offense, according to the ordinance.

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