ARLINGTON -- Those who recycle in the Northshire might not have to sort their bottles, cans, and cardboard this summer and will be able to recycle heavier plastics, provided enough towns agree to make the change.

Michael Batcher, solid waste program manager for the Bennington County Regional Commission, said Arlington, Sandgate, Sunderland, Manchester, and Dorset have been presented with a resolution saying they wish to move to a "single-sort" system. Batcher said those towns have a solid waste contract with Casella Waste Systems, a waste hauling service based in Rutland. The contract contains an option stating that if they all agree to change to a single-sort system, they can.

Resolutions on tables

The Arlington Select Board adopted a resolution supporting the change on Monday while the other towns have drafts of the resolution before them, said Batcher. Representatives from each town have already met to discuss the change and all seemed agreeable, said Batcher, meaning single-sort could happen this summer.

If the towns all agree then all Casella would have to do is move some large collection bins. Batcher said money is saved by the towns not having to rent so many bins for each type of recycled waste and Casella does not have to transport as many. He said its sorting facility in Rutland can mechanically separate the different types of waste while employees pick out what slips through.

Heavier types of plastic such as trash bins will be able to get recycled, he said. Residents are asked not to tie things together with rope or cord as that interferes with the sorting machines.

Batcher said the change is not likely to save money, however. Casella projects that customers will recycle up to 20 percent more material once it is made easier and the increase in volume will offset what gets saved in the simplification.

The BCRC administers the billing process for the towns involved in the agreement. Batcher said half the profits from sold recycled material go to Casella while the other half go to the towns. Costs and profits are doled out based on each town's population. Batcher said the costs vary greatly depending on the market for recycled material. The two transfer stations used by the towns are in Dorset and Sunderland. The Rupert transfer station already does single-sort, while Casella's curbside service is single-sort, too.

If the change is made it may take some time for residents to get used to it, Batcher said. Information will be made available if it happens and once people are aware of the change hopefully they will recycle more, he said.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.