Recycling Committee hands out $100 checks

Marlborough – Some local residents this year will be the recipients of $100 checks and Starbucks gift cards just for recycling. Peggy Ayers, a volunteer with the city's Recycling Committee, explained that the cash initiatives are part of a one-year program to try to boost residents' recycling eff orts.

She explained that once a month members of the committee will select a street in the city and then choose one of residents who is recycling as the winner.

"It is all random," Ayers said. "We do not know the people … I have no idea who they are."

What the committee members hope is that, if residents hear about friends or neighbors being selected as the monthly winner, they might be enticed to try to also recycle.

Putting aside the positive environmental implication of recycling, Ayers explained that it is more cost eff ective for the city when residents recycle. Regardless of how much material is picked up and recycled, the city pays one set price, in contrast to the trash disposal rate, which varies according to the amount of material being disposed of. By increasing the community's recycling, the city could save a signifi- cant amount of money.

"It is the right thing to do for the environment and the city," Ayers said. "By recycling, we can cut the cost of trash disposal."

Currently, the Recycling Committee does not know just how many residents participate in recycling.

"It is a figure that we just do not have," Ayers said.

Although the total number of recycling households within the city is not known, the Recycling Committee volunteers have discovered through regular neighborhood canvassing that some neighborhoods have up to a 90 percent participation rate. In the neighborhoods with high compliance, committee members have found that many of the residents are homeowners. In areas where there is a lower rate of participation, they find a higher percentage of renters.

"What we do know is the city's recycling rate is 12 percent," Ayers said. "What that means is that 12 percent of the total amount of trash is recycled."

People often misconstrue this figure, she said, and mistake the 12 percent as the percentage of the city's population that recycles.

Some areas identified by the Recycling Committee as where the city might be able to increase the recycling rate would require improving communication with non- English speaking residents. Because of the language barrier, Ayers said, many residents may not know how or what to recycle. Ayers said she hopes that some future consideration can be given to providing bilingual recycling information.

The Recycling Committee, which is made up of about a dozen volunteers, is not a city-run group. It is running its current reward campaign with no financial cost to the city. The gift bags were donated by Starbucks and the cash prizes distributed monthly over the next year will be funded by a donation from Allied Waste.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=3411

Posted by on Sep 26 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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