Salem Recycling Program Saves $20,000

The Salem News reports that in the first six months of mandatory recycling Salem has diverted 300 tons of trash to recycling, saving the City $20,000.

SALEM — The new mandatory recycling program has enjoyed a relatively smooth rollout, with the city having already diverted about 300 tons of waste for a savings of $20,000, program enforcement coordinator Jeff Cohen said in a recent interview.

The recycling ordinance was approved by the City Council in May and took effect on July 1. It requires residents to set out recycling with their trash at least once every two weeks. The ordinance included a three-month grace period during which Cohen and the city tried to educate the public about recycling, including through face-to-face meetings with residents and an advertisement campaign that aired on Salem Access Television.

Cohen was hired to his 18-month contract via monies from the Department of Environmental Protection and the city’s trash budget. During the grace period, he canvassed the city, measured “set-out” rates and educated people about recycling.

“I went to approximately 13,000 addresses and posted about 6,000 door hangers,” he said. “During that period, I spoke to about 2,800 people face-to-face and a lot of other people on phone calls.”

The city pays a little more than $60 a ton to dispose of trash, with the average person producing about that much each year. Recycling plastic, metal or glass costs the city nothing, and paper and cardboard can be sold for a profit of $20 a ton. Read more.

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