City Sees Dramatic Increase in Recycling, Reduction in Trash to Landfill with Implementation of New System

Way to go New Bedford!

In the eight weeks since New Bedford first rolled out its new automated curbside collection system for trash and recyclables, the City has attained an unprecedented recycling rate and significantly reduced the amount of waste sent to its landfill. New Bedford’s new collection program began on June 23, 2014 and was designed and implemented to increase recycling citywide, reduce litter on city streets, and decrease the amount of solid waste sent to the Crapo Hill landfill.

Under the new curbside collection system, City residents and business owners place trash and recyclables curbside in uniform wheeled carts. The carts are emptied by ABC Disposal’s automated trucks which are equipped with mechanized arms and fueled by compressed natural gas.

“We have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from residents about the new system. They appreciate the cleaner streets, the sturdy, easy-to-use wheeled carts and the simplicity of the single-stream recycling program. It has been a transition for everyone and throughout the process the City has been open to feedback and has made adjustments to the program where necessary,” said Kenneth Blanchard, Director of Public Facilities and Fleet Management.

In the months leading up to the implementation of the new system, the City was collecting an average of 278 tons of recyclables curbside monthly. In the first full month the new system was online that number spiked to 562 tons of recyclables collected during the month of July. In comparing the same time period, the City collected an average of 3,021 tons of solid waste monthly with the old system and just 2,469 tons of solid waste was collected curbside in July. Officials say the sharp increase in recycling and significant decrease in solid waste disposal will help New Bedford prolong the life of the Crapo Hill Landfill.

Marissa Perez-Dormitzer, District Recycling Coordinator for the Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District said, “There has been a tremendous increase in the amount of recyclables set out by residents and businesses. The tonnage has more than doubled. Residents tell me they used to fill one or two blue bins and now with the carts, they are recycling significantly more.”

The City is closely monitoring the implementation of its new system and continues to educate the public about the program. In February, the City launched a public education and outreach campaign around the program and continues to provide guidance to residents and business owners. Coordinators have met with many organizations and associations to provide information about the program and help answer questions. Inspectors have been knocking on doors, speaking directly with residents and sharing information with them to help them learn the proper way to set out trash and recyclables.

Here are a few helpful tips to properly set out trash and recyclables and avoid fines:

  • Do not overfill the carts. The cart lids must be fully closed.
  • Recycle loose clean bottles, cans, jugs, jars, paper and cardboard together in the cart with the orange lid. Do not put trash, food, clothing, plastic bags, plastic wrap, or Styrofoam into the recycling carts. List of Recyclable Materials
  • Do not set out regular barrels, blue bins or bags curbside.
  • Do not put your cart out earlier than 5:00 P.M. on the day before your scheduled collection day.
  • Call ABC Disposal at (508) 999-2619 to schedule a bulky item pickup.

Beginning on Labor Day, the City will issue warnings if trash and recyclables are not properly set out on the designated collection day. The grace period for non-compliance will expire on September 30, 2014 and violations will result in fines thereafter.

The City of New Bedford Solid Waste and Recycling Ordinance informational flyer is available here: Solid Waste and Recycling Ordinance Informational Flyer. The ordinances describe how property owners and occupants must comply with the program and outline the fee schedule for failing to comply with the solid waste and recycling collection ordinances.

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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