Springfield, VT Member Site Visit Brings New Ideas for Repair and Reuse

February 26, 2024

The NRRA Member Services department is made up of our Member Services Manager, Brian Patnoe, and Senior Member Services Representative, Bonnie Bethune. Together, they have over 60+ years of recycling and solid waste management experience to pull from! Their department provides cooperative marketing and purchasing assistance, along with ongoing technical assistance to member communities through email, phone, and in-person site visits. They also put together member-only market updates, and answer common member inquiries such as recycling trends, proper processing techniques, and market specifications. 

Recently, Brian visited with Recycling Coordinator, Eugene Lamoureux, at the Springfield, VT Transfer Station.

Springfield is an NRRA member town of just over 9,000 residents. NRRA helps them recycle several commodities including cardboard, mixed paper, plastics, steel cans, scrap metal, and tires.

Recycling these materials uses much less energy than making products from virgin resources, and using less energy means fewer greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Their recycling efforts help avoid nearly 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That's like removing over 300 cars from the road for an entire year!

The Springfield, VT 2023 Environmental Impact Report shares additional positive environmental impacts of recycling individual materials:

Cardboard is baled in a Philadelphia Tram baler. These small but mighty balers were manufactured in the 90s for smaller spaces such as supermarkets, retail chains, hospitals, hotels, and malls. (Take a look at those great looking bales!)


Their mixed paper is collected loose in an open top container, angled to make access easier for the public with removable shelves that hook onto the side of the container for residents to put their bins on while they unload their paper. Newspapers are collected separately and sent to a nearby farm for cow bedding. Residents of a certain age will recognize Marvin the Martian who oversees paper collection with his Yes and No signage!

#1 - #7 plastics are collected and baled together, held together with strapping and headers. The transfer station uses large jugs for the bottom and top of the bales as well. 

One of the best parts of the transfer station is the amount of reuse the facility encourages!

"Andrea's Second Chance Shop" is a lovely swap-shop of gently used items like toys, housewares, and books. The shop includes a sewing machine repair and reuse table where old sewing machines are collected and sent out to be repaired and then reused. There is a medical equipment reuse section, where used medical items like shower chairs, walkers, canes, and crutches can be dropped off or picked up for resident use. And there's a book drop off for books to be reused and reread. Books that are left for too long or are in poor condition are ripped up and recycled. 


Finally, battery recycling is mandatory in Vermont, so the transfer station has a helpful battery drop-off section. The signage includes images of the types of batteries to be dropped off into different sections. Recycling batteries helps recapture valuable metals such as cobalt, lithium, and graphite for reuse, which lowers the dependence on cobalt and lithium mining and graphite manufacturing.

The Springfield transfer station also bales aluminum cans, has bulk aluminum scrap and bulk light iron sections, and has a robust non-ferrous metals program, separating copper, wire, brass, and other non-ferrous metals. 

In all, the transfer station is very well run with a wonderful host of recycling, reuse, and repair options. Thank you, Eugene, for taking the time for our member site visit - we certainly think you have some great ideas that other transfer stations will find helpful!