November 22, 2014
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Mixed up by the message

To the Editor:

Your story on the recycling changes was on point but the comments by the mayor threw me for a loop where he's stating that the city is moving to no longer pick up regular garbage without a recycling bucket on the curb. I understand in cities with low recycling rates it seems like a good practice, but in Warwick this seems like a slap in the face from a few perspectives.
I work for MetLife and we had the pleasure of a Rhode Island Resource Recovery director come to a lunch and learn back in April to explain the new process to us. And at her direction, I've been mixing recycling types for two months now. In my household, we prefer to serve fresh vegetables instead of canned goods and we don't drink milk, so the majority of our recycling is cat food cans, the occasional Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee cup and the Beacon and Journal, which we get only on the weekends. I've been putting everything mixed into my blue bucket. I can tell you that even mixing trash, I only need to put out the blue bucket every two to three biweekly cycles. In fact, this past week I only put out the blue bucket as the regular trash was only one-third full. Next week when the trash is two-thirds full, I will put it out but with only about 4 inches of recycling in my bucket. With the mayor's plan, my garbage will not be picked up unless I trot out my nearly empty blue bucket.
Does this seem like a good use of manpower, equipment and time for the city worker to empty two days of newspaper, four cat cans and two iced coffee cups in my blue bucket? At a time when we should be looking for ways to cut back on city resources and expenses, this seems to be contrary to that plan. I'm not even asking to layoff sanitation people; perhaps reassign them to other areas in city government, like pothole repairs or park cleaning, etc. And with the dramatic increase in what's able to be recycled now, the garbage to recycling percentage will be much less, thus our cost to use the landfill for dumping will be reduced. I'd like to think the mayor has also considered this expense reduction in his 2012-2013 budget.

Scott Nerney
Warwick


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