LACONIA — The sheer volume of trash and recyclables generated at Weirs Beach during Motorcycle Week stretched the capacity of the city to collect and remove it, which undermined the mandatory recycling program introduced in July 2013..
Prior to the introduction of the mandatory recycling program the city's solid waste contractor, which then was Waste Management, Inc., collected at the Weirs every day of the rally. At the same time, Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, took it upon himself to collect recyclable material — bottles, cans and cardboard — at the end of each day.
The 91st rally in 2014 was first since the mandatory recycling program began.This year and last, Casella Waste Systems, Inc., which replaced Waste Management as the city's solid waste contractor, has collected trash and recyclables twice a week instead of daily at the Weirs during the rally. In addition, the Department of Public Works (DPW) mounts two shifts each day of the rally to collect trash and recyclables from designated containers placed throughout The Weirs.
The volume of trash and recyclables has not diminished with the frequency of collections. To compensate for reducing collections a number of remote containers for recyclable materials were placed around the Weirs — at Funspot, the Weirs Beach Drive-In Theater, the site of the water slide and near Gulbicki's Towing & Auto Repair. To comply with the mandator recycling program, local businesses were directed to place the recyclable material that accumulated between collections in the remote containers or alternatively deliver them to the Laconia Transfer Station.
Apparently some did while others failed to separate trash and recyclables as the mandatory recycling program requires. A pile of discarded trash, much of it bottles in black plastic bags found one morning at the corner of Lakeside Avenue and Tower Street, which took a crew of four an hour to remove, highlighted the lack of compliance with the recycling program.
City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that he intends to convene a meeting of city officials and interested parties to review the situation with an eye to designing a more effective collection for the rally next year. He acknowledged that the DPW lacked the equipment to collect trash and recyclables efficiently and did not rule out incurring the additional cost of arranging for Casella Waste Systems to return to daily collections during the rally. He pointed out that if not recycled and added to the waste stream, the sheer volume of recyclable material generated during the rally represents a significant cost to the city.