Residents Reluctant to Recycle

Increased tipping fees and decreased recycling equals more expense for the town.

Less people are recycling, which means more in tipping fees paid to get rid of regular garbage, according to town officials, who are ready to partner with a company that vows to turn that scenario around.

The newly-approved 2011-12 town budget includes a $50,000 line item to hire the services of Recyclebank, a company that works with organizations around the country to help increase recycling rates.

The town makes money on the collection of recyclables, while it pays to get rid of regular garbage collected. With more people throwing out items that can be recycled, the tipping fees the town pays to dispose of the garbage increase, and the revenue from the recyclables decreases.

That scenario recently led to a request from the Public Works Department to the Legislative Council for an emergency transfer of $40,000 that in part was needed because of the disparity.

But now town officials are ready to address that, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said, beginning with the hiring of Recyclebank.

"They guarentee to increase recycling rates and lower tipping fees," Leng said. The first year's savings is estimated to top $100,000, he said, for a net savings of $50,000 after taking into account the $50,000 price.

The town also is going to introduce a new, larger recycling tote that will have embedded in it an electronic sensor, Leng said. When the bin is collected by the town's recycling contractor, they will scan the sensor, registering that the residence contributed recyclables, he said.

That way, the town can track who is recycling and who isn't, he said, and education efforts will be targeted to those not participating in the program.

But Legislative Council member Tom Rousseau said he knows first hand that recyclables don't always end up in the recycling truck. Occasionally those collecting garbage will also collect the recyclables, he said.

"I've seen them thrown into garbage trucks," he said. 

"That is something we are dealing with," Leng said.

For information on the town's garbage collection policies, click here. For its recycling guidelines, click here.

Joanne Goudreau May 21, 2011 at 03:26 PM
I don't understand where you live but two trucks come by every other Thursday when our trash is picked up. As a member of the old recycle team, it was suggested that there be a tag placed on the recycle bin if there were inappropriate items in the bin. Also, someone, I can't imagine who, was going to mark the homes which did not recycle and a fee was going to be applied. It is so important to recycle - only the dumb and the lazy do not recycle.
John P. Flanagan May 21, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Dumb. That's especially the electronic detector nonsense. And. we thought people were just kidding about the "green police". Does one get put in the new police cells if they don't recycle? We do have a recycling coordiantor whose job it is to oversee the process including education. So, we'll toss another $50,000 down the drain to bring in an "expert from afar". Our employee has always seemed quite competent to handle the matter in the Public Works Department. And, that's considering all the while, for over 20 years, the Town has been dealing with it rather successfully. But, from the administration which, rather than raise fees at the skating rink, contracted out with a "guarantee" of a minimum of $96,000 per year to the Town. Except that amount turned out to be around $9,000 because they forgot that the Board of Education would now have to pay the contractor to use the rink. Result $87,000 to the contrator and, to compensate, the students lost the ice skating programs. Whoops! Who can't read contracts and/or failed to determine what services the Town was providing to all its citizens? So, to say I have a lack of confidence in this guarantee is an understatement!
Thomas Alegi May 21, 2011 at 06:07 PM
I have called some council members and told them these electronic sensor recyclable totes are a costly bad idea. There are better ways to increase recycling in Hamden than to have these electronic sensor recyclable totes and the GREEN POLICE. If council members did some research on the internet they would find better low cost ideas. Mr. Flanagan, have you given any thought of applying for Mr. Leng’s position with the town, there are many people in town who think your understanding of town issues are superior compared to Mr. Leng’s understanding of present and past town issues.
Patricia C Vener June 01, 2011 at 01:06 PM
1) Collecting the recycling weekly would be great even for people who don't have a lot of waste (recyclable or not). In the parts of Baltimore County, Maryland where I lived before returning to CT, trash was picked up one day of the week and recycling another day. The supermarkets used recyclable blue plastic bags and these were used for cans, bottles - anything recyclable that isn't paper. Paper was put into boxes (yes, those corrugated boxes as well as any other kind of large paper boxes). 2) Having to fold and tie corrugated cardboard is a hardship for many older people who would otherwise recycle them 3) Having to put paper in brown paper bags is a hardship for those of us who bring our own bags to the grocery store. Get rid of this requirement! Instead of using expensive electronic, Big Brother monitoring tactics, make it easier to recycle. Make bins easy (and free) to obtain (since up here we can't use those corrugated boxes to hold paper. In fact, why not follow Maryland's lead and let us use corrugated boxes to hold papers and then collect the whole lot? Collect weekly rather than every other week.
Melissa Pernice June 03, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Why not do what one town in MA did to encourage recycling? Require people to buy trash bags from the city. The city has specially marked trash bags and only these bags will be collected by garbage collectors. People don't want to spend extra time and money getting these marked trash bags, so they recycle more.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »