Chairman Kevin Cafferty, who is also Scituate’s Assistant DPW Director, presented Brown with a plaque and montage at the SSRC’s monthly board meeting, held at the Rockland Town Hall this month. Twenty Board members and associates were in attendance.
Brown was a Cohasset selectman when he helped form the 13-town South Shore Regional Refuse Disposal Planning Board in the 1990s. Its mission, was to determine whether the South shore towns should form a solid waste district. In addition to investigating this feasibility, the SSRRDPB’s Planner, Carol Swete, administered a regional household hazardous waste contract, assisted the members with difficult to manage wastes such as fluorescent tubes, and other services. The towns decided to stick together, but not as tightly as a District would have required, and hatched the South Shore Recycling Cooperative.
Merle was involved in the establishment of the SSRC in 1998, along with Cohasset colleague John McNabb. Former state Representative Tom O’Brien, who now serves as Plymouth County Treasurer, shepherded Special Legislation, which enables the SSRC to raise and disburse its own funds and enter into contracts, through the Legislature. Towns become members by signing an Intermuniciapl Agreement, accepting the provisions of the Special Legislation and paying modest annual dues. Currently, the fourteen member towns are Abington, Cohasset, Duxbury, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Kingston, Middleboro, Norwell, Plymouth, Rockland, Scituate, Weymouth and Whitman.
In the interim, Swete left the Planner position, which had gone unfunded for several months. Brown served on the committee that hired Executive Director Claire Sullivan, remained an active SSRC Board member, and was elected chairman in 2003, a position he held until last June. He continues to serve as Vice Chairman.
Some SSRC activities Brown was involved with over the years were depicted in a photo montage presented to him by Sullivan. Ten legislative breakfasts, ten years as a Marshfield Fair Recycling ambassador, MassRecycle Volunteer of the Year, Hanover Mall Earth Day Celebrations, Bottle bill hearings at the State House, WATD radio interviews, and tours of several facilities including RasTech roofing shingle recycling, and Strategic Materials glass recycling plant in Franklin are just some of the events the SSRC has hosted over the years.
The SSRC continues to administer a regional Household Hazardous Waste contract, running about twelve collections each year. The SSRC’s core mission though is to help the member towns to work together to implement the most cost effective ways to reduce disposal and increase recycling. Over the fifteen years of its existence, per household disposed trash has dropped by 25% in the SSRC’s member towns, from 2160 lbs/year to 1622 lbs./year. That reduction in household waste saves the fourteen SSRC member towns about $1.8 million/year in tip fees.
Additionally, the SSRC participates at the State level in crafting policy and legislation that will impact municipal solid waste programs, keeps its members up to date on current technology, market conditions, and vendors, assists residents and member towns with difficult to manage waste such as mattresses and propane tanks, and maintains a website with vast amounts of information for residents, businesses and municipal officials, ssrcoop.info.
Chairman Cafferty read the inscription on the plaque to Merle and the Board: “In Appreciation of Fifteen Years of Leadership and Service to the South Shore Recycling Cooperative: Founding Member 1998, Chairman 2003-2013, Vice Chairman 2013 and beyond”.