Sunday, November 9, 2014

Status Quo at Spectacle Pond



While driving along Route 119 in Littleton recently, I'd noticed a gravel road leading down to a Spectacle Pond boat ramp.  This morning while heading west on 119 and, about to drive past the spot, I braked instead and headed down the road for my first post-Bottle Bill expansion defeat paddle.  It would be a new boat launch and new body of water for me to experience.

At the top of the ramp is a parking area that was littered with discarded trash.  This is what was recovered from the parking area...
 
At the base of the ramp was this additional trash...

The day's haul consisted of 49 recyclable containers (28 redeemable) and 27 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish.  All but 10 containers were recovered from either above or below the ramp.  YTD = 5449

Shortly my boat and I were afloat, and thoughts of learning to live with the status quo of our unexpanded Bottle Bill occupied my mind.

Before leaving home I'd read the Boston Sunday Globe and an interesting letter from Tom Keane, "Bottle Recycling Problem Still Needs to Be Fixed." I believe by "problem" he's referring to the low recycling rates for plastic containers.  In his letter he never mentions "litter" being a problem.  Regardless, most of what he says makes sense as pertains to recycling.  He mentions Delaware's recently adopted "universal recycling" law as a possible alternative to our bottle deposit system.
Apparently Delaware still applies a 4 cent fee on some beverage containers (until 12/1/2014) as a way to raise funding for the program.  It requires all businesses and institutions to recycle, and all waste haulers must offer their customers single-stream recycling.  Individuals, though, are not required to recycle.  Keane reports recycling rates in Delaware rose from 33.7% to 40.1%.  I'm left to wonder what effect, if any, "universal recycling" in Delaware has had on that state's litter.

Here in Massachusetts trash and recycling receptacles are not available at many public places in keeping with the state's "carry in/carry out" policy.  I think most would agree it would've been great had "carry in/carry out" worked, but evidently it just isn't going to get the job done.  Trash and recycling receptacles need to be placed and maintained at trailheads, boat launches, beaches, and public parks.  How about a fee (such as Delaware's), rather than a deposit, on plastic containers to fund installing and maintaining such receptacles.  Costs might be kept lower if folks (or organizations) could contract with the state or cities and towns to be responsible for maintaining specific locales for a reasonable amount of compensation rather than having municipal employees tasked with the job.   Just a thought.

Out on the pond clouds hung tough as I paddled to the south...

Upon reaching the pond's end I entered Bennetts Brook and soon encountered a beaver dam.  Beaver trapping season began earlier this month and 2 traps were observed at the dam.  They appear to be conibear traps which can only be used by special permit as they are lethal to the beaver...


On the pond's west side were the remains of older structures.  One was the hearth and chimney that once warmed a home...

The other had the look of a covered bridge but spanned no opening...

At the pond's north end, near the boat ramp, is the outlet to Gilson Brook...

...which flows into Forge Pond, then Stony Brook and ultimately the Merrimack River.


  

4 comments:

Bernie Paquette said...

In lieu of an expanded bottle bill, I favor mandatory recycling with a wide net of materials including food scraps.
Vermonts bill, H. 485, is a comprehensive bill that addresses all curbside recyclables, bottle bill material, yard waste and organics.

Note this statement presented to me by a representative of our county solid waste district.
1. Processing plastic # 1 PET, glass and aluminum is more expensive via the bottle bill than processing them in a MRF due to the handling fee.
2. The “net gain” or profit from processing plastic #1 PET and aluminum at the MRF subsidizes the cost to process lower value materials (glass and #3 thru #7 plastics) and to create new infrastructure.
If you would like more info. drop me an email.
Bernie

Bernie Paquette said...

This report may be of interest to you.
Systems Analysis of the Impact of Act 148
on Solid Waste Management in Vermont.

http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/solid/documents/FinalReport_Act148_DSM_10_21_2013.pdf

The most recent Vermont estimates for bottle bill and other material recovery rates that I’m aware of may be found in "Systems Analysis of the Impact of Act 148 on Solid Waste Management in Vermont," a study completed by DSM Environmental Services in 2013 for ANR. For just bottle bill estimates, see Chapter V, which begins on page 43. See especially the second to last paragraph on page 46 regarding issues with calculating accurate recovery rates for bottle bill materials. They also estimated quantities of non-deposit containers that might be included in an expanded Bottle Bill and recovery through MRFs. That discussion begins on page 86 and there’s a summary table on page 87. System 1- Base Case is the current system in Vermont.

Suasco Al said...

Bernie, Thanks for the links to Vermont's recycling approach data.
Does Vermont have a bottle deposit program at present? If not, did they in the past?

Bernie Paquette said...

Vermont has a bottle deposit law which covers (bottles/cans) soda, liquor, beer.More info @ http://www.bottlebill.org/legislation/usa/vermont.htm