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After reading the article in the Bangor Daily News on June 16 about Maine towns becoming the owners of the Hampden trash plant, I have one question: Why?
As I recall, the trash plant used new technology intended to sort incoming trash into several categories to sell in the recycling market. Apparently it didn’t work very well, as it lost millions of dollars in six months of operation.
It’s astounding that anyone would want to buy a business that lost millions in six months. Is there any reason to believe things will go better next time? Several factors seem to indicate they’ll go worse.
The first time around, the machinery was new. Now it has sat unused for over two years, and complex machinery doesn’t benefit from idleness. Today it’s harder to hire — it will take great pay to entice workers to a facility that has to be dirty and smelly. Costs of transportation have skyrocketed. There’s no huge new demand for recycled materials.
I believe the towns should forget the Hampden plant and, if necessary, put money into improving PERC, which isn’t fancy but has worked for years. Perhaps the Hampden plant could be turned into housing for the homeless.
Lawrence E. Merrill