You’re much more likely to see someone pick up an old beer bottle these days than a discarded pizza box.
The reason is simple: although both can be recycled, the bottle can be turned in for 5 cents whereas the cardboard box will bring you nothing.
Working on that principal, the City of Hartford is introducing “Go Green – Use Blue,” a new recycling program that will allow selected city households to collect up to $400 in coupons at various local stores based on the amount of items they recycle.
This one-year pilot program was made possible by a first-of-its-kind grant of $200,000 from the National Recycling Partnership.
At a press conference on Monday announcing the new program, Mayor Eddie Perez said that about 5,000 city households will be selected to participate in the program, which is scheduled to begin in May. Each one of these households will receive a free, 64-gallon recycling bin. All recyclable items can be placed in this bin for pick-up by the City of Hartford Department of Public Works (the 5,000 households make up about one-sixth of the total number of households served by the City’s trash collection service).
The recyclable contents of the bins will be weighed to determine how many coupon points the household will receive.
In explaining how the 5,000 households will be chosen, Perez said, “Quite honestly, some of our neighborhoods don’t do as well as they could or should when it comes to recycling. The reasons may vary: some folks don’t know what can be recycled; some folks don’t understand all the reasons why it is important to recycle; sometimes there’s a language barrier; and sometimes people need a little extra push or incentive to get them to try something new and in this case very important.”
Perez said he hopes to eventually extend the program city-wide and increase Hartford’s recycling rate to 50 percent. The national average is approximately 32 percent.