Good News on Recycling!

Back in September we asked for help with recycling – and you delivered!

Newton’s recycling plummeted from 18 percent contamination with a cost to the City of more than $100,000 in fines over the last 15 months down to 9 percent! This great news means that the penalty fee will be eliminated as of Feb. 1, saving Newton an average of $6,550 a month.

What are some of the things that should not go in the recycling bins? Plastic bags, black plastic food trays, food, Styrofoam, medicine bottles, wood, clothing, tissues and napkins.

Thanks to a state grant, the City embarked on a robust education campaign.

City inspectors spent three mornings a week examining recycling bins in our neighborhoods and giving warnings with specific feedback if an issue was found. If a problem persisted, carts weren’t collected for a week.

In total, we inspected 14,400 carts, issued 1,852 warnings, and rejected only 144 carts over the nine-week inspection period. Once people understood the problem, they did an outstanding job of cleaning up the City’s recycling stream. From Week 1 of the program to Week 9, warnings dropped on average by 85 percent.

I’m grateful to Director of Sustainable Materials Management Waneta Trabert and her team who educated us.

Now we need to keep up the good work to prevent contamination from creeping back into our green bins. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

More information is available here. Or watch this for a bit of a laugh.