Monday, November 12, 2007

Recycling in New Haven

Dear All:

As you may have read about in the New Haven Independent or in the New Haven Register me and a few colleagues have gotten together over the past few months and put for a new plan for recycling in the City. Below is my stump speech - I would love to know what you think about the idea.

With a special thanks to the following Alders -
Nicholas Shalek
Roland Lemar
Erin Sturgis-Pascale



Recycling in New Haven

Current Program

Currently in New Haven we have a curb side recycling program with each household having 1 18 gallon bin. The current program is defined as:

Plastics #'s 1 through 7,
Glass Food Jars,
Corrugated Cardboard,
Mixed White Paper,
Scrap Metal
Waste Oil

If there is any overflow from the bin are to be taken to the City of New Haven Recycling Center located at the City's Transfer Station at 260 Middletown Avenue.

Issues with the Current Program

We have identified a number of short comings with the current program they include but are not limited to:

18 gallon bins are too small
Our yard waste is not being composted
Our organics are not being composted

We believe that a major factor in the current program is that we have given our residents massive 96 gallon garbage bins. These bins enable people to dispose of any thing as long as it fits into a bag and the bin. The reality is that the overflow from the bins are bagged and put into the 96 gallon regular bin.

This then leads to a number of negative factors:

Material that should be recycled is instead put into the Solid Waste stream
Costing the City more money because we pay approximately $85 per ton of MSW and $35 per ton of recyclables


We propose that the City provide a larger bin for recycling. Something in the 54 gallon range with wheels. This will encourage people to put more in the bin and have less of a reason not to recycle. The fact that we will be saving around $50 per ton for every additional ton we recycle should help deflect much of the cost of the bins.

This will mean that we will have to contract with a “Single Stream Recycling Facility”, where they are able to handle any mixture of acceptable recyclables and they sort them at their facility.

To further incentivize the program we can contract with a firm such as RecycleBank of Philadelphia who rewards homes for the amount each home recycles. Each RecycleBank Recycling Container has a barcode that is identified by the recycling truck. The amount your home recycles is translated into RecycleBank Dollars that you can use to shop at participating stores.

Programs such as this have been effective in moving the recycling rate from 6% of waste removed to over 30%. This translates into real savings to the environment and City coffers.

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