Friday, November 21, 2008

The trash plant and recycling

Reported by the MRJs Dave Moran:

WALLINGFORD - When it comes to the future of trash disposal in town, Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. believes the best bet would be placing the operation in the hands of the for-profit, New Jersey-based energy-from-waste corporation Covanta.

I tend to agree, but a related and equally important concern is increasing recycling in town. Offering financial incentives is one idea (of several) suggested by the GAO in a 2006 study:

Further, several of the recycling coordinators with whom we spoke believe that providing a financial incentive to recycle is one of the most important features of their recycling programs. In cities such as Austin, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, residential garbage collection fees are based on the size of the garbage can used. Through recycling, residents can produce less waste, use smaller garbage cans, and thus lower their garbage collection bills. Cities such as Minneapolis and Philadelphia offer different types of financial incentives to recycle. Minneapolis residents who actively participate in the city’s recycling program through processing, sorting, separating, and bagging their recyclables receive a $7 credit in their monthly garbage bill. In Philadelphia, households selected to participate in a pilot program called “Recycle Bank” can receive up to $25 per month in coupons—based on the weight of their recyclable materials—that can be redeemed at major retailers. Academic studies we reviewed found that charging residents a waste disposal fee based on the size of their trash container could positively affect the amount of material being recycled.

I like the idea of the Recycle Bank, where you get a gift certificate for major retailers. I'm guessing though that the administrative side is something else.

Tim White

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