A pair of local trash haulers report a spike in residential recycling thanks to a more user- and eco-friendly recycling program they introduced to Berkshire County several months ago.
Roger Trucking of Great Barrington instituted "single-stream" recycling last summer, followed by Daley & Sons Trucking of Lee on Jan. 1: allowing homeowners to combine bottles, cans and plastics with paper and cardboard into one container for curbside pick-up.
Both businesses have been providing their residential customers --free of charge -- separate totes to encourage single-stream recycling. And the concept has quickly caught on with many of Roger Trucking's 650 customers, according to owner, Rob Brownson.
"I've seen a significant increase in recycling with the new carts ... roughly 15 percent," Brownson said. "I had one couple tell me, ‘This single stream [recycling] is great.' "
At Daley & Sons, owner Bob Daley has noticed a 27 percent jump in recycling among his 2,000 customers in Central and South County.
"They are also finding more things to recycle," he said.
He has noted mixed recycling usually leads to 20 percent more items being taken out of the solid waste stream.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, single-stream recycling began on the West Coast a decade ago and worked its way to the commonwealth in 2006. State officials say about 30 Massachusetts communities have converted to single stream, including Springfield.
The largest community in Western Massachusetts began mixed recycling in fiscal 2009 and by the end of fiscal 2011 the city had reported a 65 percent increase in recyclables from 4,600 tons to 7,545 tons. During the same period, Springfield's reported its trash disposal had dropped by 45,966 tons to 42,207, thus reducing the city's trash hauling costs, according to municipal officials.
Springfield expected single-stream recycling to save taxpayers $300,000 a year as the city provides the garbage pick-up service.
Since Roger Trucking and Daley & Sons Trucking aren't under contract with any one community, they have instituted single-stream recycling, in part, to also keep from increasing their regular trash hauling fees.
Ultimately, Brownson said he believes recycling is a joint venture between he and his customers.
"If they make the effort to recycle. I'm making sure those items are recycled," he said.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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