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A residual question

Health officials eye landfill dumping

March 22, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Residuals are non-recyclable. They're not municipal solid waste. So what, exactly, are they?

Although it sounds like a question on an SAT exam, it was actually the topic of conversation at the Board of Health meeting Thursday, March 18.

After news of a variety of plastics being deposited in the Southbridge landfill reached the public, a handful of residents attended the meeting to get to the bottom of an ever-growing pile of trash.

Questions as to how and why the plastic was dumped in the landfill surfaced after items — primarily numbers three through seven — were found in loads from other municipalities being brought to Southbridge.

The reason is a specific designation of materials, called residuals.

John Schwalbe, director of landfill operations for Casella, said residuals are items people have discarded into recycling bins, but are not accepted into any specific category during mechanical separation of recyclables.

As an example, Schwalbe said a half-full soda bottle would not be accepted as a recyclable because it would exceed the weight requirement for that type of plastic and would wind up in the residual pile.

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

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