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Staff Writer

TOWNSEND — Recycling can help save the environment. It can also help save local budgets.

When waste is collected, it’s ultimately weighed before disposal. The town is charged on a per-ton basis, so more trash equal higher costs.

However, recycled items are not included when weighing trash. In fact, recycled materials can be sold by the town to produce revenue.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection estimates that citizens and businesses in the commonwealth throw away 1.5 million tons of paper each year. It’s estimated that additional weight from the discarded paper alone costs the state $100 million annually.

Board of Health administrative assistant Kathy Spofford said it’s a town goal to spread awareness of the significant savings the town would enjoy from improved recycling.

Several signs were purchased, to be placed in front of Memorial Hall and on Routes 13 and 119, advertising the weeks that paper is collected for recycling.

Recycling pickups alternate between paper and plastic each week, which may confuse some residents, said Spofford. The signs are meant to appear every other week, to remind residents on those weeks that paper products are collected.

Recyclable paper products include corrugated cardboard and other items as long as they’re not dirty, such as pizza boxes, or plastic embedded.

Residents should set the items aside in a separately-marked container so they are not mistaken for trash, said Spofford. Free stickers to place on recycling containers already owned by residents are available at the Board of Health office, as well as separate recycling bins.

Spofford said she hopes the signs make the recycling process easier, because the savings to the town could be substantial.

Further questions about recycling can be answered by contacting Spofford at (978) 597-1713 or visiting www.earth911.org.

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