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Recycling sparks Council uproar

Casella ripped for dumping plastics at landfill

March 16, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Illegal plastic dumping and other recycling issues took center stage at the Town Council meeting Monday.

From citizen's forum, resident Kevin Buxton urged the town to assess "some kind of fine" for a recently-revealed Casella practice of dumping loads of recyclable plastics from its Auburn and Charlestown facilities in Southbridge's landfill. He said it came up at the most recent Board of Health meeting and dubbed it "a slap in the face" of residents who recycle.

"They've been dumped [here] and occupy valuable space in our landfill," Buxton said, noting the landfill is Southbridge's "cash cow" and therefore needs to be used wisely.

Speaking of cash, Town Manager Chris Clark announced Casella had also not been making contractual payments of $5 per ton for about three years, but he did not indicate how much money that came to.

"We looked into it and they have not paid, and there's an invoice going out tomorrow [requesting payment]," he said.

Recycling Coordinator Melissa Joyce said the dumping came to light when she and Health Director James Morin saw it happen during a visit to the landfill. She said Casella was treating them as "residuals," a vaguely defined category under which some items otherwise subject to the state's waste ban can legally be landfilled. She alleged the definition "had been toyed with" in a way the company justified disposing of plastic types that are fairly hard to find a market for.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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