To the Editor: Restoring a robust recycling program 

To the Editor: 

On Saturday morning, members of the new Southwest Harbor Recycling Club gathered about a ton of cardboard and other recyclables from dozens of residents and businesses. It was the first opportunity to recycle anything in Southwest Harbor since May 2020. 

It was a great morning of meeting up with neighbors and making new friends while saving resources and taxpayers’ money. According to transfer station records, Southwest Harbor generates more waste per resident than any other town in Hancock County – twice as much as Tremont. With these simple steps – sorting cardboard from our waste stream and delivering it to the mill in Old Town (as we did with Saturday’s collection) – we save taxpayers $70 per ton. 

I am running for Select Board of Southwest Harbor in part because I want to be able to recycle. Saturday’s event demonstrated that many people share this feeling. Like others, I have resorted to desperate measures, like joining the Unity Regional Recycling Center, and bringing my sorted wastes there when traveling downstate; or, as we did on Saturday, renting a box truck and doing it ourselves. In just two weeks, over 100 people signed up for the Southwest Harbor Recycling Club, online and in person. 

Our town’s contract with the privately-held transfer station is up for renewal in 2024. This election is our best and last opportunity to ensure the Select Board will reexamine this contract and work with the owner to restore a robust recycling program. We can reduce costs to the town through recycling without hurting the owner’s bottom line. 

This, of course, is not my only priority. Residents have shared many needs that I will carry, from putting up a light by the entrance to the fire station, to making our roads safer for pedestrians and drivers, to rebuilding our workforce through affordable housing. I will do my best to listen, learn and work with my fellow Select Board members toward solutions that enhance our community. 

Please remember to vote on May 3 or by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are available at town office by April 29. 


James Vallette 

Southwest Harbor 




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