Somerville Recycles More Since Initiating 'Zero-Sort,' Says City
Averaged out, each Somerville resident has increased his or her recycling by about 32 pounds in the first seven months of the Zero-Sort program.
Somerville started its new Zero-Sort recycling program in October of 2011, and the city now says recycling numbers have increased by 51 percent since then.
According to an announcement sent by the city, recycling tonnage was up by nearly 1230 tons in the first seven months of the Zero-Sort recycling program, compared to the similar time period in 2009 and 2010.
That works out to about 32 pounds of increased recycling per person.
The city also said its seen the most significant increases in East Somerville.
You can read the city's full announcement below. Although it says Zero-Sort recycling started in November, it really began in mid-to-late October.
The city also announced it's holding a styrofoam recycling day on Aug. 11, and it offered some guidlines on what can and can't be recycled. Here's the announcement:
CITY AVERAGES OVER 50% GROWTH IN RECYCLING TONNAGE DURING FIRST SEVEN MONTHS OF ZERO-SORT RECYCLING
East Somerville Sees Even Larger Shift as Residents Embrace Simpler, Easier Approach to Recycling; Officials Also Sets Aug. 11 as Styrofoam Recycling Day for City Residents
SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Office of Sustainability and Environment Director David Lutes announced today that the City of Somerville has increased its recycling totals by 51 percent since the full adoption of zero-sort recycling in November 2011. The shift in recycling totals was most dramatic in East Somerville, where past recycling rates had not been as high as in other parts of Somerville. Under the new program, East Somerville has increased its totals by 88 percent. Lutes also announced that the City will hold a Styrofoam Recycling Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, August 11th at the DPW Yard at One Franey Road.
“The evidence to date shows that this program has been well worth the effort,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Recycling tonnage is up to nearly 1,230 tons in the first seven months of zero-sort compared to the same seven-month period in 2009 and 2010. That means zero-sort is having the intended effect. It also means we’re hitting the targets we need to in order to maintain the most favorable rate payment structure with our recycling contractor. I hope we see even better results as time goes on, but this is a great start.”
“We’re especially excited to see the way that East Somerville has expanded its totals,” said Lutes. “Friday pickups, which cover Ward 1, as well as parts of Wards 2 and 4, have traditionally lagged the city as a whole. But the adoption of zero-sort has prompted a very sharp increase in recycling by those neighborhoods. The larger containers, the ability to mix different kinds of recycling in one bin, and the public education effort all seem to have had an effect.”
“It’s gratifying to see the way that zero-sort has pushed more participation in recycling and increased public awareness of the benefits,” said Ward 7 Alderman Bob Trane. “It shows that we need to provide constant reminders and opportunities to be more responsible about how we manage trash – and it shows that the public is ready to pitch in if we give them a chance.”
“I’m really happy to see East Somerville residents getting recognition for their embrace of recycling,” said Ward 1Alderman Bill Roche. “It’s part of a larger community-wide effort to improve the look and feel of an area that’s becoming increasingly desirable as a residential and commercial location.”
Lutes noted that the City’s recycling contractor, Vermont-based Casella Waste Systems, Inc., had yet to reject any Somerville recycling loads. “If a recycling load is deemed to be contaminated by too much outside material, the City will be charged, so it’s important that residents continue to follow the rules about what to put in the zero-sort totes,” said Lutes.
“We are seeing substantial compliance with program guidelines,” Lutes said. “However it’s very important to ensure that items like plastic bags, Styrofoam and food waste do not go into the recycling containers. It’s also important for residents to remember that the big blue totes are the property of the contractor and are managed by the city. Each one is labeled with a unique ID and has been assigned to a specific address. We are asking that residents use the carts only for recycling.”
Lutes explained that the August 11th Styrofoam Recycling Day was created to offer an alternative means to recycle an item that was not included in the zero-sort program. “For one day only, we’ll be adding Styrofoam to the list of items that can be dropped off at our regular household hazardous waste service days,” Lutes said. (Styrofoam products are marked with a recycling number of 6, often accompanied by the letters “PS.”)
A detailed explanation of how to participate in the zero-sort recycling program, and what materials are included, may be found online at http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/ose.
A downloadable PDF copy of the City’s 2012-13 Environmental Services Guide is available at the same web address.