HARTFORD — - The city Monday launched its single-stream recycling program and started delivering blue, 64-gallon-recycling bins to 25,000 households.
The program's goal is to reduce by half the amount of trash Hartford residents throw out each week.
The less garbage that goes to the trash-burning plant in the South Meadows, the less taxpayers spend on tipping fees, Hartford officials said. The city will split any savings with RecycleBank, a vendor that offers award points to residents as an incentive to recycle. The points can be redeemed for discounts at local stores.
Mayor Eddie Perez said in a statement that single-family homes and multiple units of six apartments or less will receive the new bins, which replace the traditional 18-gallon containers. The city used federal stimulus money to pay for the new recycling carts, Perez said.
Every cart has an identification tag that is scanned to record the weight of the recyclables inside. The heavier the bin, the higher the point tally.
Residents can activate their accounts by registering at www.recyclebank.com, or by calling 1-888-727-2978. Each week that a resident recycles, award points are automatically added to the account. A list of companies accepting award points is also located on the website.
The citywide program is an outgrowth of a successful experiment conducted last year with 4,500 Hartford households. Participating residents received the 64-gallon carts and switched from dual-stream to single-stream recycling, meaning the paper didn't have to be separated from the metal, plastic or glass any longer. The households in the pilot program got the awards points.
The combination more than doubled the recycling rate from 8 tons a week to 17 tons a week, according to a report by the National Recycling Partnership. The group paid $175,000 to finance the study.
City officials expect similar results citywide.
Marilyn Cruz-Aponte, assistant to the director of public works, said the conversion to single-stream, the larger bins, and the incentive program give residents the tools they need to be successful recyclers.
"In almost every city we're in, rates have doubled or tripled. We expect the same in Hartford," said Melody Serafino, a spokeswoman for RecycleBank. The company has programs in 21 states, including Massachusetts.
Serafino said the award points are also helping local businesses. Residents can redeem the points at any time.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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