Annual Report 2018

our mission

ecomaine provides  comprehensive long-term  solid waste solutions in a safe, environmentally responsible, economically sound manner,  and is a leader in raising public awareness of sustainable waste management strategies.

Leadership

Guided by Mission, Continuously Improving

It has been an eventful year in the waste management industry, to say the least. Market insecurity around recyclable paper has led to uncertainty about the future of that commodity, and even the outlook for the entire recycling business. At the same time, waste managers in other regions continue to run out of landfill space and are looking for solutions to their future disposal options.

Despite the bleak appearances, ecomaine remains strong, thanks to our communities. In the face of unprecedented realities, ecomaine communities reduced recycling contamination during the last two months of FY18. Our reputation and support for the higher rungs of the waste hierarchy is well-known in the industry. By maintaining our commitment to recycling during these challenging times, ecomaine is well-positioned to continue to manage waste with positive economic and environmental impacts.

Not only that, ecomaine’s strength is in its diversity. The Waste-to-Energy plant celebrates 30 years of creating energy for Maine homes this year—not to mention revenue for ecomaine. Our ashfill is on the cusp of a new decade-long project to recover post-burn metals, creating additional space and income. And ecomaine’s community outreach is truly what sets us apart, with more than 25,000 people reached by our tours, programs, and presentations in just one year. These programs create the bedrock on which ecomaine achieves its mission.

Our mission statement is underscored in our work every day. It is the guiding principle that is a part of every decision we make, and will allow ecomaine to thrive for decades to come.

It will never be enough to sit by and wait for our bright future. We all work together to improve solid waste management in Maine every year. ecomaine’s Board, staff, and everyone in our communities has a role to play in making this future a reality.
Thank you!

Kevin Roche
Chief Executive Officer

Officers

Chair
Matthew Frank
Harrison

Vice Chair
Mike Shaw
Scarborough

Outreach & Recycling Chair and Secretary
Caleb Hemphill
Falmouth

Treasurer
Erik Street
Yarmouth

Vice Chair, Finance Committee
William Shane
Cumberland

Past President
Troy Moon
Portland

Board Of Trustees

Maureen McDevitt
Bridgton

Matthew Sturgis
Cape Elizabeth

Jamie Garvin
Cape Elizabeth

Nominating Committee
David Morton
Casco

Rodney Regier
Freeport

Sherrie Benner
Gorham

Deborah Cabana
Gray

Len Van Gaasbeek
Hollis

Jeff Amatrudo
Limington

Robert Randall
Lyman

Rob Wood
North Yarmouth

Anne Bilodeau
Portland

Spencer Thibodeau
Portland

Christopher Branch
Portland

Alan Bradstreet
Pownal

William Donovan
Scarborough

Linda Boudreau
South Portland

Maxine Beecher
South Portland

Greg L’Heureux
South Portland

Dennis Abbott
Waterboro

Anthony Plante
Windham

recycling

Forging Ahead

Fiscal Year 2018 was the most challenging for recycling markets in a decade. Overall recycling revenue dropped by about 40% in the face of China’s ban on recyclable materials, and the resulting imbalance of supply and demand. 

waste to energy

175,000
tons/year…

~5.25 million tons of trash

equals 2.7 million megawatt hours…

(vs. 270,000 mwh from raw trash, 10%)

powering 450,000 homes

(instead of 45,000 from  raw trash, 10%)

The 175,000 tons of  trash we burn each year generates enough electricity to power all  of ecomaine, our electric company car—and about 15,000 homes, too!

1976

Regional Waste Systems is founded by Cape Elizabeth, Portland, Scarborough, and South Portland

1978

Regional Waste Systems buys 240 acres of land to establish a jointly-owned landfill

1985

Our regional  organization expands to 21 municipalities, including Hollis, Gray, and Yarmouth

1988

Waste-to-Energy plant is built to use waste as fuel to generate electricty into the grid, and to reduce the volume of trash
being landfilled

1990

Recycling facility is established using the former waste processing building and existing trash baler

2006

Debuts Single-Sort recycling technology under the new company name, ecomaine

2018

ecomaine includes 74 communities, has eliminated its debt, and holds the Safety (OHSAS 18001) and Environmental (ISO 14001) certification at its three facilities.

landfill

ecomaine is now able to bring back materials that had been landfilled for a while, and use that to create energy at our Waste-to-Energy Plant.

In FY18, it was more than 11,000 tons!

Sometimes, metal makes its way into people’s trash bins and into our ashfill, since it doesn’t burn up. But it’s  a valuable resource!

ecomaine partners with a mining company to retrieve the metal from under all that ash, and to recycle it, putting it to use once again.

Recycling metal creates space. Reducing the area needed to store waste is important for the environment and to ecomaine’s future!

Safety, Wellness, Environment

Safety

On the Safe Side

It’s no accident that safety comes first in our mission statement. Safety comes first at  ecomaine every day.

ecomaine Safety Committee

Mark Dolloff, Chair
Mark Maritato, Recording Secretary
Nate Gerrish
Matt King
Kevin Trytek
Andrew White
Lynn Michaels
Ed Caron

wellness

Wellness Corner

Lynn Michaels, ecomaine’s Accounting and Human Resources Specialist, oversees ecomaine’s Wellness Program. ecomaine employees have the opportunity for monthly lunch and learn sessions, to meet with a registered nurse on ecomaine’s campus, and receive incentives for improved lifestyle habits. Lynn leads the way, keeping ecomaine employees safe and well!

Image:  Lynn Michaels with Health Coach, Tammy Perry-Kramarz

responsibility

Good Neighbors

“Not only is ecomaine good for our environment as a whole, they’re good for our neighborhood environment!

Being across the street from a large waste management plant could get messy, loud, and smelly.  but we see ecomaine always cleaning Blueberry Road and their own yard. They are committed to keeping our streets, water, and air clean.  It’s very convenient and a pleasure to be their neighbor.” 

—Tom Libby, Building Manager, Ruth’s Reusable Resources

What matters most to me is making sure I put the right things in the recycling bin.”

Savannah, Greely High School Junior

Your hard work

in all you do brings out the best in us and inspires us even further.”

Terri Eddy, Ecology Club of Scarborough High School

Bill Cote, 2 Years

Phil Thomas, 10 years

We’re lucky to have ecomaine!”

Debbie Jordan, Peaks Island

I’m so glad

we have ecomaine, and thankful for the job that you do. Keep recycling!”

Gerard Labbe, Augusta

I love to recycle”

Elizabeth, grade 2, South Portland

Having you

at the Fair is such a welcome addition. It demonstrates that MOFGA not only talks the sustainability talk, we walk the walk, and recycle as much of our waste as we possibly can.”

April Boucher, Common Ground Country Fair Director, MOFGA

Scott Ames, 19 Years

Wayne Butler, 1 Year

You burn trash

so it gets smaller and then you don’t have as much trash.”

Lucas, grade 2, South Portland

Financially Secure

AVERAGE PRICE FOR ELECTRICITY AND RECYCLING FY09 – FY18

WASTE TONNAGE RECEIVED FY18

outreach

While the downturn in  the markets presented a challenge to all of us, it gave ecomaine the chance to show what sets us apart—our educational programming. 

Which bin does it go in?

In order to lower contamination rates, ecomaine’s CEO and staff created opportunities for education in all sorts of ways. ecomaine held education sessions for town and transfer station staff. We presented in front of numerous city and town councils and select boards. We continue to offer tours five days a week. And ecomaine staff supported our members by providing information and resources at transfer stations and events around the state.

ecomaine was in the news! More than 80 times, people read, saw, or clicked on news stories in which ecomaine provided expertise, insight, and information about sustainable waste management. This includes everything from statewide radio and television to the community papers so many of us depend on.

Camden

Camden Hills Regional High School took on an ambitious project to compost all cafeteria waste. Through a collaboration between students, teachers, and maintenance workers, they collected organic material, shredded it, and buried it in horse manure to compost it.  Now, students learn about the process of breaking down compostable waste, and with guidance, they are ensuring that their recycling, trash, and compost each end up in the right waste stream.

The Lakes Region

Lake Region Middle School in Naples discovered the power of public awareness through their grant. As they conducted a waste audit and built their own composting program, they created posters, videos, and artwork to share information and data about their initiative, educating their peers and teachers.

Limington

The Harold B. Emery, Jr. Elementary School in Limington is putting its grant to use by implementing an on-site single-sort recycling program.  Previously, teachers have taken it upon themselves to transport recyclables to Limington’s transfer station. Now, recycling can be a part of the school’s daily life, providing educational opportunities for all!

Model U.N.

Kevin Roche captivated more than 200 students at the University of Southern Maine at its 2018 Model U.N. Conference by addressing issues of global and local waste management and sustainability.

Outreach

eco-Excellence Awards

Allagash Brewing Company, Ruth’s Reusable Resources, and Massabesic Middle School’s David Pope received top eco-Excellence Award honors in the Business, Community/Non-Profit, and Individual Leadership categories, respectively, at the 2018 ecomaine eco-Excellence Awards ceremony in March. The top winners were selected among 18 award recipients in total, from 11 member communities.

Recycling is a Work of Art

Making recycling work takes all of us. But in 2018, making recycling beautiful was the work of six eco-minded artists from Gorham, Jay, South Portland, Portland, Saco, and Cape Elizabeth. As part of our Recycling is a Work of Art contest, a handful of lucky 30-yard recycling containers became canvases for winning designs!

recycling knowledge

Bob Wheaton
Warehouse Head Clerk (39 Years)

Back at the beginning, we were only a trash baling station—“ecomaine” didn’t exist. There were only nine of us, and we had a bigger baler, just baling garbage, about one-and-a-half tons at a time, and piling it in a landfill.

I’ve been here almost 40 years, and there are still people who don’t know where their trash goes, even though it’s been going to the same place all this time. We take care of a problem – trash – but a lot of people don’t give it much of a second thought.

Now, instead of just burying raw trash, we’re generating power from it. This makes it easier to keep up with more and more trash with less volume in the landfill.

ecomaine’s operation, and what we do every day, is really interesting, especially the science that goes into our emissions controls. ecomaine’s always been ahead of the grade on environmentalism, like taking care of mercury and heavy metals before it was mandated, or adding in pollution controls and measurement before leachate from the landfill goes to the water treatment plant in Portland. We do a good job keeping up with the pace of environmental changes. And we make a really clean type
of energy!

It’s always been a good place to work. I like the people and I like my job. ecomaine is very safety conscious, and it’s given me the pay and benefits to raise a family.

Vanessa Berry
Environmental Educator (1 Year)

Since joining ecomaine, I have been able to see the work that happens behind the scenes after materials go out to the curb. I never realized how important it was to have effective communication and transparency with everyone involved; we communicate with the haulers that drop off the materials; we communicate with towns to help them succeed; and we communicate with each other within the organization. This all happens naturally throughout the day!

Transparency is something that we value in our daily operations, and we do our best to keep those lines open through tours, presentations, and answering all kinds of questions. It makes me feel proud to work in a place that, despite a downturn in the global recycling markets this year, still recovered recyclable materials, rather than automatically going with the cheaper option at the moment.

When people visit our facilities, many of them are surprised to see the sheer amount of material that we receive every day. Seeing the mountains of trash and recycling leaves a real impression during the tour, and it also gives our residents a new perspective on what they contribute to the
waste stream.

As an educator, there is something very powerful about sharing those values of environmental stewardship with others. If you can create a genuine culture of recycling with your target audience, they will apply those values in their everyday lives.

It is incredibly important to me to work somewhere that shares the same values that I do, and strives to make the world a better place. ecomaine wholeheartedly advocates for a “waste not” mentality, and aims to reduce the amount of waste that is created in the first place, one trash can at a time.

what’s next?

The future of waste management presents many challenges.

Think of 10 years ago, when most of our recycling was newspaper. Now, delivery services mean more cardboard. Packaging is more flexible plastics than plastic jugs. There are so many moving parts to every challenge in this industry, but under Kevin and Matthew’s leadership, I have every confidence that ecomaine will continue to rise to meet the needs of our communities each and every year.


Troy Moon (Portland), outgoing Chair
ecomaine Board of Directors

ecomaine is fortunate to have great communities with a receptive audience.

People in Maine know what’s at stake. They know that we’re looking at a more sustainable future with ecomaine than one in which our recycling and trash is stored indefinitely in ever-growing landfills.

Every day, residents get in touch with ecomaine and ask how they can do their part. We can’t ask for much more than that.


Matthew Frank (Harrison), Chair
ecomaine Board of Directors