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Barnstable County/Mass DEP Municipal Assistance Coordinator Kari Parcell offers advice to Orleans on how to increase recycling opportunities

The following article was published in the Cape Cod Chronicle on October 16, 2019 and is shared here with permission.

Expert Praises Town’s Recycling, Sees Room For Improvement

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — Another voice has been added to the conversation about the best use of the town’s transfer station. This afternoon (Oct. 17), the board of health will review a report from Kari Parcell, the county’s municipal assistance coordinator, on how to increase recycling opportunities.

After a recent public hearing at which opinions were mixed on a proposed change to single-stream recycling, the board decided to concentrate for now on ways to improve the existing operation. Resident Rick Francolini invited Parcell to take a look at the operation, an idea endorsed by the board and DPW/Natural Resources Director Tom Daley.

“Tom is a great guy and we have been working (closely) on this topic and many others,” Parcell wrote to Francolini last month.

At today’s board meeting, which begins at 2 p.m., Parcell will present observations from her Sept. 24 walk-through of the transfer station. Her recommendations include seeking a mattress recycling grant, increasing the use of the paint shed, adding a food waste drop-off program, creating new signage, staging an outreach and education campaign, and following up opportunities to apply for state Department of Environmental Protection grants.

“Tom and I work well together in getting funding and using grant programs to help implement and pay for initial start up costs,” Parcell wrote in her response to Francolini. “I would also recommend an education campaign, town wide presentations by myself and Tom in open forums as well as other forums in which you see fit…”

Parcell’s presentation started with advice on how people can avoid contaminating recyclables, which can lead to loads being rejected at materials recovery facilities or even at ports before shipping. The “top 4” contaminants are bagged recyclables and plastic bags, food and liquid, clothing and linens, and “tanglers,” items such as ropes, hoses, and strings of lights that could jam processing machines. Go to for more specifics on what and how to recycle, or call the transfer station at 508-240-3770.

Parcell was impressed by the town’s new textile collection program, its “clean and well-organized” universal waste storage (think florescent tubes, for one), separate brush/leaf and yard waste piles, and encouragement of home composting.

Parcell identified grant funds available to start a mattress and box spring recycling effort, and noted that Eastham has a regional collection program that Orleans could access. She encouraged more use of the transfer station’s paint shed for collection of household hazardous waste paint and latex paint, now held twice a year. The former is taken by a vendor and the latter is dried out and thrown out. A regional latex paint collection program funded by DEP is up for renewal.

Food waste collection has significant potential, according to Parcell, who has had discussions about a program with Daley. Again, she said, grant funds are available, as they are for improved signage to direct recyclers at the station (one sample sign from another town announced a thoughtful safety tip: “PROPANE/No Picking).

Parcell was pleased to note that Orleans has applied for a state Recycling IQ kit grant. According to the DEP’s website, the kit “helps towns better target education and outreach to the public, give residents direct feedback at curbside or drop-off, and track and report the results of these efforts.” The kit provides digital templates for magnetic post cards and “oops” tags as well as banners and bin stickers to alert recyclers to proper procedures. Towns can get up to $6,000 to address drop-offs and $40,000 for curbside pick-ups, plus up to 40 hours of help from a municipal assistance coordinator such as Parcell.

“I look forward to the 17th and presenting some ‘fun’ facts about the state of the Cape and Orleans,” Parcell wrote to Francolini. “What a great community!”