CITY AIMS TO INCREASE RECYCLING IN ORDER TO SAVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
(5/30/2013) (New Haven, CT) –Every ton that is recycled and not thrown out saves the City of New Haven $46. Realizing that increasing the recycling rate is not only important for the environment and human health but also provides significant savings in the municipal costs for trash pick up, the City of New Haven changed its approach to recycling less than two years ago.
Beginning in the spring of 2011, 96 gallon recycling bins replaced the old – and less than 10 gallon – boxes that had been used for recycling. Additionally, the City moved to single-stream which meant that individuals no longer had to separate their recyclables, they were now disposed of together and then separated at the recycling facility.
Less than two years later, the recycling rate in New Haven has grown from 16 percent to 29 percent -- an 81 percent increase. And, as of 2012 the City of New Haven realized an annual savings of close to $200,000.
At a press conference today, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced that he wants to build on this momentum in order to realize even more savings through an increased recycling rate in New Haven. If New Haven were to reach a 50% recycling rate, the City would save $365,000 a year,” said Mayor DeStefano.
Part of achieving this depends of public awareness of what can and cannot be recycled. For example, plastic bags are not part of the City’s single stream recycling collection—they get caught in the sorting machines at the recycling facilities (locally, plastic bags can be recycled at various of chain stores including Target, Lowe’s, Sam’s and Walmart).
According to City of New Haven Public Works Director, Douglas Arndt, food contamination and plastic bags have been a problem lately. Arndt explained that food must be rinsed off any plastic or glass that is to be recycled and pizza boxes that are saturated with grease cannot be recycled.
Over the past few weeks, when the Department of Public Works comes across contaminated recycling bins (with food or plastic bags), they have not been picked up. Instead, Public Works will affix a sticker to bin noting what must be done to recycle properly in the future and then picked up the contaminated recyclables with the regular trash at a later date. Arndt reported that as a result of these efforts, Public Works has noticed an increase in proper disposal of recyclables.
More information on the City’s single stream recycling program can be found on the three links below: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/sustainability/Recycling/RecyclingFAQ.asp