The Massachusetts Beverage Association and the Massachusetts Food Association will launch a two-year initiative aimed at increasing recycling in Massachusetts communities. The Massachusetts Recycling Challenge – building upon past investments in recycling in the Commonwealth - is designed to enhance residential recycling programs, while also increasing the presence of 'on-the-go' receptacles to encourage recycling in public places.
"While Massachusetts has built up its infrastructure for recycling over the past several years, there is still much work to be done as far as increasing our state's recycling rate," said Chris Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Food Association and spokesman for Real Recycling for Massachusetts – a coalition of citizens, businesses and community organizations that support a comprehensive approach to recycling, in a prepared statement. "Our industry is committed to playing a leading role in increasing recycling in our state, and we believe this initiative can set the stage for meaningful progress."
Through this challenge, a number of pilot programs will be established to help target communities improve their rates of recycling. A newly-formed nonprofit 501c(3) entity will engage outside consultants to provide technical advice to targeted communities looking to institute "pay as you throw" programs, through which residents can save money on trash collection by recycling more. In addition, the organization will purchase approximately 200 'on-the-go' recycling receptacles to be deployed in high visibility locations in target communities.
The pay-as-you-throw approach to household waste disposal - in which residents pay trash collection and disposal fees proportional to how much they throw away - has proven highly effective in communities such as Worcester, Marshfield, and elsewhere for diverting material away from disposal. Diversion from disposal in pay-as-you-throw communities typically increases 16 percent with the adoption of these programs – and diversion is even higher if single-stream or other recycling program enhancements are introduced at the same time. The use of on-the-go recycling receptacles in public places is a priority initiative for many environmental, community and legislative leaders dedicated to enhancing recycling in Massachusetts.
"Legislative leaders in Massachusetts have spoken clearly that they want a comprehensive approach to recycling across the commonwealth, and they are looking for a commitment from our industry to help lead the way," said Chris Crowley, executive vice president of Polar Beverages in Worcester and Chairman of the Massachusetts Beverage Association. "That's a challenge we embrace, and through the Massachusetts Recycling Challenge we hope motivated communities will see the opportunity to make a difference."
The two-year, $533,000 pilot program will be established in 2012 and implemented in 2013 and 2014. The pay as you throw program will begin with free workshops and include technical resources and advice to 15 to 20 communities in each of those two years. Experts will provide higher level technical assistance to five communities selected each year of the program. The public space initiative to place on-the-go recycling receptacles will fund the purchase of approximately 100 receptacles in each of the two program years. The initiative will fund technical support on receptacle siting, communications, and documentation of results and will include in-kind, promotional support from beverage companies and food retailers.
"We're taking what have proven to be effective means for comprehensive recycling in communities in Massachusetts and across the country and are providing the resources to expand on them," said Jim Crosby, owner of Crosby Supermarkets located in Middlesex and Essex counties and chairman of the Massachusetts Food Association. "We look forward to working with communities and individuals who share our desire to improve the way we recycle in Massachusetts, and with that, the way we care for our environment."