Scrap metal company proposes reopening of Maine landfill

American Iron & Metal says shrinking C&D disposal capacity in the state spurred the company to try to reopen the landfill.

November 23, 2022

Montreal, Quebec-based American Iron & Metal (AIM) has proposed the reopening of a Bucksport, Maine, landfill to allow for more construction and demolition (C&D) disposal capacity.

The metal recycler, which owns a portion of the landfill located at the site of a former Vespo paper mill, made its first public pitch to Bucksport town officials last week.

As reported by the Bangor Daily News, the proposal would involve AIM partnering with the town to reopen the 1.1 million cubic yard landfill that used to take the mill’s waste. The idea, according to estimates by Bucksport officials, could bring in more than $3 million for the municipality.

At a town council meeting regarding the proposal, Dave Bryant, a representative for AIM, said that the company was spurred to reopen the landfill because of shrinking construction debris capacity in Maine. He says AIM approached Bucksport with the proposal because private companies haven’t been able to open landfills since the 1980s, but municipalities in the state still can.

“It’s become clear that the most efficient and perhaps the only way to accomplish commercializing that existing landfill is to partner with a municipality,” Bryant said.

The estimated life of the landfill would be about 10 to 12 years, reports the Daily News, and it would only take C&D debris. Household trash and other waste would not be accepted.

The plan would involve the town taking ownership of the landfill, though AIM would retain any legal liability for its operation. AIM also would run the landfill, likely with another commercial waste partner.

Town officials say AIM would charge tipping fees, and Bucksport would receive a portion of the fees, as well as about 200 tons of free debris disposal.

According to revenue estimates, Bucksport could take in roughly $3 million over the landfill’s extended lifespan if the town receives $2 in tipping fees for every ton of debris. The town could also save upwards of $30,000 a year for the approximately 250 to 300 tons of demolition debris it currently pays to take it to other landfills.

To address odor concerns by nearby residents, AIM says most materials taken in by the landfill will be required to go through a transfer station where organic waste will be removed.

The Daily News reports the infrastructure committee didn’t have any outright objections to the idea. It will have to go through several more rounds of public hearings before any sort of agreement with the town can be approved. AIM would also have to get green lights from the state to resume operations.