May 7, 2010

Gardiner offering 'green' products

GARDINER -- The city is taking orders for half-priced compost bins.

The city purchased 20 bins from the Maine Resource Recovery Association, a nonprofit group formed to foster professional solid waste management practices that benefit Maine communities.

Every spring, the organization, in cooperation with Norseman Plastics, holds a compost bin sale and offers backyard compost bins at reduced cost. The retail value of The Earth Machine is $120, but communities can buy them for $38.50 through this program.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the Gardiner Recycling Advisory Committee recommended that the city participate.

"They indicated that there was an ability to purchase these at a reduced price, then the city could pass along the savings to citizens," Morelli said Wednesday. "We only ordered 20 to make sure we can sell them. We really haven't advertised and I already have four or five orders."

Residents will pay only $38.50 for the bins, he said, which will be available in mid-May.

Maine Resource Recovery Association Executive Director Victor Horton said the program is available to communities and organizations.

Along with the bins, the program offers kitchen pails for $8, a wing-digger compost turner for $16.50 and rain barrels for $55.00.

"This year we're going to be selling close t0 1,600 Earth Machines, over 300 of those kitchen pails and wing diggers, and 300 rain barrels," Horton said. "The Kennebunk Conservation Commission held a May Day festival and sold close to 380 bins. An average town sells between 20 and 40 (a season)."

More information can be found at the association's Web site, www.mrra.net.

Those interested should contact their town offices to see if their community participates, he said.

Horton said 25 percent of the waste an average household takes to a transfer station is kitchen scraps and yard trimmings, which can be composted.

Gardiner's recycling advisory committee wants to reduce waste and increase recycling.

"We're trying to find ways to get things out of the waste stream, and composting is a good way," said Cassandra Shaffer, a member of the committee. "It's something that's easy and this makes it affordable. We're hoping to raffle one off at Gardiner's portion of the Whatever Festival."

Mechele Cooper -- 623-3811, ext. 408

mcooper@centralmaine.com

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