Town Diary - March 2000
A trip to the recycling center.
A job facing many Barkhamsted residents
maybe once a week is a trip to the "dump" or more precisely the Regional Refuse
Disposal District #1 recycling center (RRDD). On a Saturday in late March
2000 we recorded this delightful task so that you may enjoy it for the years to
After loading up your vehicle with bulging garbage bags and items to
recycle, you drive to the RRDD entrance off Route 44 just north of the New Hartford/Barkhamsted
town line. You proceed to the shack where the "gatekeeper" verifies that your
vehicle displays a sticker for the current year (which cost you $25 last June).
The gatekeeper checks to see that you only have routine items, and not material
that might require special instructions. She waves you in. You proceed into
the main recycling area and it is teeming with activity. Your are not surprised
at how busy it is because it is Saturday. Saturdays are always busy.
You pull up to the cardboard compactor and toss in several boxes.
You wait for an opening and then pull up to the trash bin and throw in the garbage
bags. The garbage collected at RRDD is hauled to a collection point in Torrington
and from there it goes to the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority in Hartford
where it is burned in a trash to energy plant.
You take a container filled with empty plastic milk jugs, cans and bottles and pour
the whole lot into one of the big recycling bins. These, along with newspapers
and cardboard also go to Hartford but are not burned. They are recycled by
CRRA and the income produced serves to lower the cost of collecting and burning
the garbage. In March 2000 RRDD paid $49 for each ton of garbage sent to Hartford.
You drop a stack of old magazines in another huge bin. RRDD collected about
17 tons of magazines in March, and will sell them for $14 per ton with the income
used to help offset operating expenses.
Your mission has been completed and you climb back in the car to leave.
But you decide to drive to the upper recycling area to check it out, because you
have some scrap metal at home that you want to get rid of one of these weeks.
You think that this type of material is brought up above.
Sure enough, at the top are some more recycling huts with large bins containing
various metal and wood items. The attendant confirms that you can dump your
metal up here when you get around to bringing it in. In March 2000 RRDD collected
about 47 tons of light metal scrap and sold it for $25 per ton.
Short history of the RRDD landfill site in Barkhamsted:
In 1970 a four
town disposal district comprised of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, New Hartford and Winsted
was formed (Colebrook dropped out later). The dump opened for business on
April 1, 1973. Glass, paper, bottles, cans and many other items were recycled.
The garbage and other bulky waste was buried on site up until 1988 when the garbage
was sent to Hartford. Concerns over contamination were raised and the landfill
was put on the National Priorities List as of October 1989 as a Superfund site for
groundwater contamination. Bulky wastes continued to be buried at the site
until October 1, 1993 when the landfill portion of RRDD closed. The landfill
mound was capped to EPA standards, the work being completed in June of 1999.
The site continues to be a collection point for waste and recyclables. Besides
the items mentioned above, a variety of other materials such as waste oil (about
10,000 gallons per year-no resale value), boxboard (about 75 tons per year-no value),
auto batteries (about 15 tons per year, producing income of about $120 per ton),
and propane tanks are collected and recycled.
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