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Initial Recycling Enforcement Results Are In

Town officials said they've seen a positive impact following the announcement that trash pick up would stop for non-recyclers.

Town officials promised this spring that they would be in an effort to save money and lessen the impact Wilmington has on the environment. After several months, the town has remained true to its word, and it’s paying off.

According to Town Manager Michael Caira, the town saw a spike in recycling each month since the announcement was made, evident by the amount of trash disposed. In June, Wilmington had 716 tons disposed of, compared to 882 tons in the same month of 2011.

“It’s going exceedingly well,” said Caira. “I can tell you we are seeing less trash being picked up and delivered in terms of tonnage, and we are seeing much more recycling. That’s a good thing. We pay both for trash and recycling pickup, but only for trash disposal. So the less trash, the more money we save.”

For more numbers on the success of the enforcement, Superintendent of Public Works Don Onusseit said there has been a spike of 16 percent in recycling tonnage.

In addition to the strong June numbers, the amount of trash disposed of was also lower in March, April and May, compared to the same time last year.

“Our fiscal year trash totals were as low as I’ve ever seen them in my 15 years,” said Onusseit. “It really dropped down last quarter, and the recycling is up as well. The town is saving money, so we are going to keep at it.”

The town announced its plans to enforce recycling in the spring, and officially began doing so on July 1. As a result, if residents do not recycle, their trash is left behind with a note informing them of the requirement to recycle.

Caira said not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of having their trash left behind, but added that it is a simple step for residents to take.

“What we’re seeing now is an indication that people are taking this seriously,” said Caira. “Clearly some people are unhappy with it. But I think a lot of it is that they don’t realize how easy it is, and how much recycling there is within their trash. It’s my expectation that we’re going to see similar numbers moving forward.”

Onusseit said residents have been cooperative for the most part, but added that the town will continue to be diligent moving forward.

“Most people are taking it to heart,” said Onusseit. “People who hadn’t recycled aggressively are calling to find out more information and getting more bins. You have people that have not recycled and are complaining about it. They’ll have to get with the program. For the most part though, we’re happy with the results.”

webmom August 03, 2012 at 12:34 AM
I was thinking the same thing. I leave my recycling bins out so the trash guys will see they were there. But yes, that is a point that needs to be addressed.
webmom August 03, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Overall, I'm thrilled with the town being more aggressive in recycling..there are too many benefits. I hope the town gets even more aggressive and maybe comes out with even more programs (like some towns in the north/coast area). How about addressing or promoting composting? I would love it if the town offerred compost bins/classes. That would reduce a lot more waste as well.
Wellcare Chiropractic Center August 03, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I would love to see if there is any long-term benefit to doing what Newton did, offer large barrels specific for recycling, rather than the small ones as incentive to the community, especially if there is long-term cost to dumping trash. Now I believe they gave their barrels for free, which isn't necessarily what we would have to do, but even if the town offered larger bins at a discount than buying them at a Home store. But, because I recycle anything possible, our recycling more than doubles our trash and we can no longer fit it into the small bins anymore. We can only have so many bins that they go into our trash bins, which can make it hard to decipher between the two. I also love the composting idea, which could be offered similarly to the larger recycling bins, where they could be offered at a discount as the compost bins maybe otherwise, cost-prohibitive.
Wade Samatis Kennedy August 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM
My family of 3 generates three overflowing bins per two week period. I would definitely be interested in having a larger recycling barrel outside that I periodically dump bins into. This would also reduce the number of bins I need to store in the house.
JMF May 29, 2013 at 04:09 PM
maybe you should lift your oversized and OVERPRICED trash bin over your head before you drag it out to the curb and you'll see why guys are throwing your stupid can. and then do it in the rain after you let it fill up with water for 3 hours. its not about what the workers want its about recycling properly and not being an ignorant fool like yourself.

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