The heart transplant at the recycling center in Pittsfield is finished.
On Tuesday, the old baler at the Barnstead, Chichester, Epsom, and Pittsfield Transfer Station, 30 years old and fading, had been moved to a nearby hill out back, waiting to be sold for scrap metal. A new one, costing $225,000, took its place, meaning forklifts and rollers were needed to set it down in its new home, on the floor in the middle of the cavernous building.
Moving six tons into place on a cold day takes time. Most of Tuesday, in fact. The new baler — the center of an operation that benefits the four towns — was scheduled to start work on Wednesday, pumping new life into a program that’s mighty proud these days of its brand new ticker.
“We make money because our product is so clean,” said John Keane, administrator at the center. “It’s stored inside so there’s no moisture problem. We’ve had buyers come into check the moisture in the paper and cardboard and we have always passed. Our product is 97 to 98 percent pure.”
Pure is a word used often by Keane and Hugh Curley, the chair of the solid waste committee. It means recyclables — tin cans, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard — are hand sorted at this station into separate bins, while garbage and material that can’t be recycled are tossed aside.
It means the baler’s horizontal belt can move more items more efficiently than a vertical belt, and it means massive bundles, some weighing as much as 1,500 pounds, can be stored neatly and dryly, four bundles stacked up to 15 feet high.