Pawtucket Times: Central Falls reaches highest recycling rate

Success the result of new, curbside pick-up system.SliderRecyclingShorter.jpg

by Joseph Fitzgerald

 Central Falls- The city of Central Falls achieved its highest recycling rate over the past fiscal year- and achievement that officials are attributing to the city’s new curbside trash and recycling collection system in effect here since last summer.

Since the curbside collection using the new 95-fallon carts went into effect on Aug. 4, 2014- which was also the start of a new four-day trash a recycling pick up schedule- the city has seen its recycling rate during the last fiscal year increase to 27.51 percent, a huge first step towards the city’s goal of boosting its recycling rate to 35 percent, in order to meet the recycling rate goal set by the state.

Attaining a recycling rate of more than 25 percent means the city will receive from the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation a tip fee rebate of $1 per ton of trash disposed, for a total of $4,355.

“Because of our residents’ efforts, our community has achieved its highest recycling rate ever,” said Mayor James Diossa. “This means the Central Falls will have reduced landfill fees-saving taxpayer dollars and helping the environment.”

“Our goal is to get our rate higher and we’re well on our way,” said Public Works Director Elaine Partridge.

City officials have been banking on the two new 95-gallon wheeled carts- a gray cart for trash and a blue one for recycling- to not only increase the city’s recycling rate, but keep neighborhoods clean.

And its working, says Blake Collins, the city’s business outreach and public relations coordinator. Collins says the new system has resulted in less trash overflow and litter on the streets.

“I think there was this past perception that our city streets weren’t very clean, but if you look at our streets now it’s obvious that we’re serious about changing that perception,” Collins said.

City officials remind residents that the lids on the carts must be closed at all times and that no additional bags of trash beyond what Is in the city-approved and city-owned containers are allowed to be places curbside. Violating those rules can result in fines.

It was in April 2014 that the City Council voted to approve a new contact with MTG Disposal, which included modifying traditional trash and recycling collection to a cart-tipper method that utilizes the 95-gallon totes for both trash and recycling.

The new automated trash collection and recycling collection program is similar to those adopted in neighboring Pawtucket, East Providence and several other Rhode Island communities.

City officials say that not only are the new spacious containers keeping trash and recycling materials from being blown around by the wind or scattered by rodents and other animals, they are helping the city improve its rate of recycling as evidenced by the 25.52 percent rate for last fiscal year. As a result, the city can expect more money to the city in the form of cash rebates. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation provides cities and towns with cash rebates based on how much each municipality has increased its recycling rate.

The RIRRC manages almost all of the state’s municipal and commercial solid waste. The facility processes more than 92,000 tons of recyclable and the Central Landfill disposes of 750,000 tons of solid waste annually.

Recycling rates are computed as the percentage of recycling waste processed at the Materials Recycling Facility compared with the amount of waste sent to the landfill for burial.

Pawtucket, which has an identical program, aw its recycling rate increase from 17 percent to 25.4 percent in just 11 months.

The new containers cost the city $784,800, which is being paid for with some of the $1.7 million city surplus that was realized last fiscal year and placed into the city’s Capital Improvement Fund. The containers carry a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.


Originally appeared in The Pawtucket Times 7/29/2015

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