- What is the management and governance of the MRC?
The management of MRC includes an executive director and a nine member volunteer Board of Directors (the “Board”). The Board is typically comprised of town managers, public works directors and finance directors from member communities that are elected to staggered three-year terms by the membership. The Board meets regularly on a quarterly basis, with additional meetings and subcommittee meetings scheduled as needed. All members of the Board serve the membership on an at-large basis with a focus on implementation of the MRC mission for the benefit of the entire region.
Support services are provided by an outside bookkeeper, Maine-based counsel (Eaton Peabody with a principal office in Bangor, Maine), a solid waste industry consultant with technical and financial expertise (CommonWealth Resource Management Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts), a civil engineering and environmental firm (Haley Ward, Inc., of Bangor, Maine); and specialists in public relations and governmental relations. MRC also maintains relationships with the Maine Municipal Association, the Maine Resource Recovery Association, the University of Maine at Orono and other Maine-based regional and public-sector organizations involved in solid waste management. The MRC operating budget is supported by dues assessed on the members; fees from counterparty business arrangements; and support for special projects from reserve funds.
- Acronyms and Brief Definitions
- MRC: Municipal Review Committee, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to ensuring the long-term affordable, environmentally sound disposal of municipal solid waste for its members.
- MWS: Municipal Waste Solutions, the new identity of the Hampden facility
- Fiberight: Fiberight, LLC is the parent company that developed and owns the technology for processing mixed MSW to be installed in the facility in Hampden, Maine.
- Coastal Resources: Coastal Resources of Maine, LLC, the original project company formed by Fiberight to finance, own and operate the Hampden project.
- Crossroads: Crossroads Landfill located in Norridgewock, Maine.
- WM: Waste Management, Inc., the owners of Crossroads, is a waste management company headquartered in Houston, Texas.
- JRL: Juniper Ridge Landfill, owned by the State of Maine and operated by Casella.
- Casella: Casella Waste Systems, a waste management company based in Rutland, Vermont.
- Bridge Waste: MSW being sent to an alternative site on an interim, short-term basis as a result of the Coastal facility not opening on time is referred to as bridge waste.
- Bypass Waste: MSW being sent to an alternative site on an interim, short-term basis after the facility has been in operation is referred to as bypass waste.
- PERC: Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington, Maine.
- Who is the MRC?
The MRC, which stands for Municipal Review Committee, Inc., is a non-profit corporation dedicated to ensuring the affordable, environmentally sound disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the long-term for its members. The MRC membership is currently comprised of the 115 communities that have contracted to send their MSW to the MWS waste processing facility in Hampden, Maine.
Our nine member volunteer board is elected by the membership and is made up of municipal officials and experienced individuals with extensive knowledge of the MSW industry. Our decisions are made in public meetings. We have been proactive about ensuring that our members will have an affordable and long-term solution to MSW disposal. We recognize that when we work together we all are in a better position to address the waste handling needs of the region.
- How can I receive updates from the MRC?
- What is MRC’s role in the MWS facility?
MRC owns the land on which the facility sits and leases the property to MWS. MRC has all the rights of a landlord over it tenant consistent with the terms of the Site Lease. MRC and Innovative Resource Recovery co-own the MWS facility.
- What are the advantages of the MWS?
The technology at MWS has many advantages compared with other alternatives reviewed by the MRC. Of particular note are the following:
- The facility converts organic wastes into high-value products without needing a new region-wide system to collect organic materials separately from other wastes.
- The facility uses a proprietary system for pulping waste prior to recovery of recyclable materials that avoids contamination issues associated with conventional mixed-waste processing facilities. Recovered recyclable materials will be clean with little contamination, thereby maintaining Maine’s tradition and reputation for producing high-quality recyclable materials.
- As a regional facility, it offers the capability to make use of technologies, market opportunities, and environmental control measures at a scale that is not available or feasible for use by individual communities or groups of communities in the MRC service territory. By continuing to work together through the MRC, communities can accomplish far more than if each were to pursue an individual solution. Likewise, the more there are that join together, the more successful the project will be.
- MWS’ use of the wet pulping process, which offers the opportunity to recover high-quality recyclable materials using technology with which there is experience in other applications in Maine and is accomplished with a minimum of hands-on, manual picking.
- Their use of the sugar platform, which provides opportunities to produce a variety of products that include bio-methane and precursors to production of industrial sugars and/or ethanol, with prospects for a high level of diversion and a low level of residuals requiring landfill disposal. The concentration on production of bio-gas makes the project positioned to achieve financing while retaining the flexibility to convert to production of other byproducts if markets dictate.
- What is the process for recycling and processing?
The facility involves specialty, custom built front-end processing equipment for the incoming MSW that recovers recyclable materials and converts organic materials to biofuels. While strides have been made to increase recycling, there are still a number of recyclables that remain in household MSW even after diversion by local recycling programs. We expect that as additional investment is made it will enhance the capture rate for recovering materials will have a large impact on the ability of our member communities as they strive to meet the State of Maine’s proposed recycling rate, which has stayed stagnant for over 20 years despite repeated efforts to raise it.
Following the capture of recyclables, the facility capitalizes on the organic material that makes up approximately 40% of MSW. Through a proprietary accelerated anaerobic digestion process – cooking or boiling down in a manner of speaking – the facility converts the MSW to biofuel. Our goal is to have approximately 80% of incoming material recycled or converted to energy or other saleable products. This amount will likely increase as some of the residuals that were originally thought to be of no value can now be used, for example, as an additive to processed plastics to make briquettes for use as boiler fuels.
- Who is the owner of the Hampden facility?
MRC and Innovative Resource Recovery co-own the MWS facility.
- What material will the facility accept?
MWS handles municipal solid waste (MSW) from member communities. some commercial haulers, and, potentially, other cities and towns in Maine if capacity is available. The facility will accept solid waste that meets the definition of Acceptable Waste found in Exhibit A of the Master Waste Supply Aggreement. This definition is identical to that included in communities’ previous contracts with PERC. MWS will not accept any out‐of‐state waste for processing. MWS will not receive any construction and demolition debris (CDD) or out‐of‐state waste for processing.
- What material does MWS NOT accept?
Joining Members are precluded by contract from delivering Unacceptable Waste to the facility. Joining Members that make such deliveries despite the contractual prohibition will be required to pay the cost of removing and of providing an appropriate manner for disposal of such materials. This type of contractual provision is standard in the waste industry and is substantially the same as that included in the expired PERC contracts.
- Is out-of-state trash being used at the facility to fulfill volume?
No. Out-of-state waste is not allowed per contract language in the Master Waste Supply Agreement and the Site Lease. In addition, the facility’s DEP permit does not allow for out-of-state deliveries – the MRC and Fiberight did not ask for it to be permitted.
- Does MWS accept single stream recycling?
MWS will accept and process single stream (no-sort) recyclables. Member communities must contract separately with for this service.
- My community wants to change our recycling program and implement new diversion programs. Who should I contact?
Contact the MRC here. Fill out the simple form and the Executive Director will respond with an answer to your question.
- If our local recycling practices become more effective than anticipated, will we be penalized because our tonnage is lower than what we estimated for the MRC during the planning stages of the project?
No, it would not be penalized. One of the benefits of the process is that it lends itself to recycling and local control. The contract terms that the MRC negotiated with the original partner specifically allow towns to continue or expand their existing waste reduction and recycling programs. The facility is designed with the understanding that many member communities will choose this route. Towns that would like to continue or expand their existing recycling programs will be able to do so. MRC agreements for the facility do not impose requirements to deliver a Guaranteed Annual Tonnage (GAT) of MSW on individual towns, and towns are NOT be liable for penalties for failure to deliver any specific amount of MSW so long as they continue to deliver all MSW under their control to the facility. Communities can continue existing PAYT programs, add new PAYT programs, or add new diversion programs without fear of being penalized individually for delivery shortfalls.
- What is my town’s current tipping fee?
As of January 1, 2024, the tipping rate is $85.28 per ton which comes from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Adjustment.
Per Section 5.1 of the Master Waste Supply Agreement, the tip fee is subject to adjustment as of each January 1 of the term of the agreement to reflect any annual percentage increase in the consumer price index (CPI).
- How many years is the tipping fee for?
There is a possible 40-year horizon on the contracted tip fee. The base fee of $70/ton is for an initial contract term of 15 years. Joining Members have the option of terminating the contract at the end of the 15-year period or contracting for up to five additional 5-year extensions.
- How will rebates be calculated?
Rebates will be calculated based on the revenue of MWS per the formula in Exhibit F to the Master Waste Supply Agreement.. That formula includes the tip fees that the facility collects from MRC members and other entities that choose to send their waste to the facility. It also includes revenue from the sale of biogas and recovered recyclables and other products.
- I’m a commercial hauler and want to deliver MSW to MWS. Who do I contact to sign-up?
If you, your hauler, or you are a hauler looking for general information, please contact MRC Executive Director Michael Carroll at 207-664-1700 or email@example.com.
- Will municipalities still be able to use the “one bin, all in” model to collect MSW?