NASHUA — A recently formed Recycling Expansion Committee has delivered its findings to the Nashua Board of Aldermen, but not all city officials agree with the recommendations.
The committee was formed to study the feasibility of expanding recycling opportunities to condominium developments, apartment complexes and private schools throughout the city. Nashua currently offers on-street recycling pickup but does not provide this same service to larger cluster units such as condominiums.
This month, the group sent a memo to aldermen highlighting its findings and recommendations.
While all of the condominium associations and schools surveyed have a definite interest in a recycling program, Alderman June Caron, Ward 7, said the committee had concerns about potential liability issues if the city picked up recycling on private property.
“The committee agrees the city should not provide these services. However, the committee believes that the city could act as a conduit to do some of the initial work to support the formation of a cooperative of properties that could contract with a provider for these services,” committee member Michelle Spears said in the letter.
Alderman-at-Large James Donchess, who originally spearheaded this initiative in 2012, said he appreciates the committee’s work but disagrees that the city shouldn’t or couldn’t provide recycling services to multi-residential developments.
Donchess believes the city could do a once-per-week recycling pickup at five or 10 of the city’s largest condo complexes “for a very modest cost.” He was hopeful the committee would have provided cost estimates for a city-operated pilot program.
“I was disappointed the committee didn’t look into that,” added Donchess.
Alderman-at-Large Brian McCarthy agreed, saying there should be further investigation into this initiative.
“Every pound of recycling we get from the condominiums is one less pound of trash we get in the landfill,” said McCarthy.
This is an ideal opportunity to look at how much it would cost for city equipment and city workers to add pickup sites at condominiums, hospitals, colleges and more, he said.
“These condos are all private,” said Caron, a committee member, echoing concerns about city liability.
She said many of these developments have narrow, private streets that would not accommodate large trucks. Furthermore, she said, some of the sites would not have any space for an additional recycling Dumpster.
Donchess questioned why there would be any greater liability risks for picking up recycling at a private development as opposed to a public street.
“The committee worked really hard,” said Caron.
Although two aldermen said further investigation should be done to determine whether the city may be able to accommodate the additional recycling pickup sites, another board member disagreed.
“I am of the mind-set to not actively grow the size of city government,” said Alderman-at-Large Dan Moriarty. Moriarty said that if the condominium associations are able to handle this initiative on their own, they should pursue that avenue.
Members of the committee met with haulers who may be interested in working with property managers for their recycling needs at area condo developments. A request for proposals is in the process of being drafted, and the plan is to bring together property managers to review options and determine whether a cooperative will be beneficial, according to the memo.
“The committee hopes in the final analysis a cooperative will be formed, and contract will be agreed to and the private properties will realize a significant benefit, as of course will the city by keeping these items out of our landfill,” said Spears.