City steps up recycling enforcement
It may seem like reverse math, but it makes perfect logic that the more you take out, the more you save.
We’re not talking about a bank account, but rather trash.
Department of Public Works Director Richard Crenca is all about reducing the city’s waste stream by increasing recycling. Some people aren’t too happy with him either. Crenca has cracked down on the “no cart, no collection” city policy. In other words, if the recycling cart isn’t at curbside, the city won’t empty the trash cart.
That’s been the rule for some time, but it wasn’t strictly enforced until a couple of weeks ago. Over time homeowners discovered their trash was being picked up regardless of whether they put out a recycling cart. Soon, entire neighborhoods were doing it and one resident, said city recycling director Christopher Beneduce, thought the recycling program had been discontinued.
A relaxation in recycling hasn’t dramatically affected the city’s overall rate of recycling that hovers between 27 and 29 percent. But Crenca believes Warwick could do better if residents paid attention and realized what it could mean in costs to them as taxpayers. It’s here that taking items out of the waste stream, if done on a large enough scale, can result in significant savings.
In the last fiscal year, the city disposed of 25,367 tons of waste at the state landfill. That amount exceeded the city’s cap by 1,675 tons, resulting in an overcharge expense to taxpayers of $90,450. On the recycling side, 10,287 tons were collected for a recycling rate of the overall tonnage collected of 28.44 percent.
That is part of the story.
As of the next fiscal year not only will tipping fees increase but caps will be reduced. The tipping fee for solid waste, which is now $39.50 a ton, will climb to $47. The cap overage fee will go from $54 a ton to $67.
The incentive is obvious: recycle more and the waste tonnage goes down. In addition, Rhode Island Resource Recovery has built-in incentives. When the rate of recycling hits 25 percent, the city gets a $1 per ton reduction in the tipping fee for waste. Another $1 per ton reduction happens when the recycling rate exceeds 30 percent.
“It’s real money,” said Crenca, justifying his action to strictly enforce the no cart, no collection regulation.