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.
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.
Chief Executive Officer
Board Of Trustees
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
~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!
Regional Waste Systems is founded by Cape Elizabeth, Portland, Scarborough, and South Portland
Regional Waste Systems buys 240 acres of land to establish a jointly-owned landfill
Our regional organization expands to 21 municipalities, including Hollis, Gray, and Yarmouth
Waste-to-Energy plant is built to use waste as fuel to generate electricty into the grid, and to reduce the volume of trash
Recycling facility is established using the former waste processing building and existing trash baler
Debuts Single-Sort recycling technology under the new company name, ecomaine
ecomaine includes 74 communities, has eliminated its debt, and holds the Safety (OHSAS 18001) and Environmental (ISO 14001) certification at its three facilities.
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
What matters most to me is making sure I put the right things in the recycling bin.”
Your hard work
in all you do brings out the best in us and inspires us even further.”
We’re lucky to have ecomaine!”
I’m so glad
we have ecomaine, and thankful for the job that you do. Keep recycling!”
I love to recycle”
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.”
You burn trash
so it gets smaller and then you don’t have as much trash.”
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 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.
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!
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.
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!
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