Massachusetts city sees 20% increase in recycling after switching to cart system
- According to the Public Works Department in Haverhill, MA, the city has saved nearly $500,000 since it switched to recycling carts and automated trucks last year, as reported by the Eagle-Tribune.
- The trucks accounted for about half of those savings and the rest came from a 17% reduction in the amount of waste being sent to Covanta's Haverhill Resource Recovery Facility. In turn, this has led to a 20% increase in the amount of recyclables being collected.
- Since the 21,000 carts were introduced, litter conditions and rodent sightings have also reportedly decreased throughout the city.
Haverhill's experiences aren't necessarily unique, but they offer another positive example for advocates of both the single-stream cart system and a cost-based reduction model. When faced with having to pay for anything that doesn't fit into their refuse carts it's clear that many residents will find a way to change their habits rather than pay more for an additional bag.
This small city's results may also serve as inspiration for other municipalities in a state that is concerned with waste reduction but has yet agree on a solution for achieving it after multiple years of discussion. Last summer, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill that would have required municipalities to reduce their annual per capita waste generation to 600 pounds by July 2018 and 450 pounds by July 2022. Recent efforts to reach a compromise for full approval of the bill before the end of the legislative session were unsuccessful and the process must now start over once again.
For Massachusetts municipalities still struggling to reduce their per capita figures this cart system may be an appealing option. Aided in part by grant funding from multiple groups, single-stream carts — often coupled with some type of pay-as-you-throw system — are becoming increasingly popular around the country.
- Eagle-Tribune DPW chief: Haverhill saving on trash disposal
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