It pays to recycle. Just ask Alan Corvi.
The director of the Barrington Department of Public Works learned this week that the town’s recycling efforts would be rewarded with a check for nearly $50,000. The money is part of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation’s recycling profits program, which shares the funds earned through the sale of recycled items collected by cities and towns across the state.
Barrington’s portion of the profits — $47,563 — is a marked increase over previous years. Just a few years back, Barrington earned $17,169 from its recycling. This year, the town of 16,000 residents contributed nearly 3 percent of the total recycling haul from the state — a little more than 2,200 tons of the 90,680 total tons statewide.
“I think you’ve got to thank the residents,” Mr. Corvi said. “Barrington has always been on the forefront with recycling. The residents are very good about recycling.”
In fact, Barrington ranked second only to East Providence, a city with about 60,000 residents, for recycling rates among East Bay towns. East Providence delivered nearly 4,500 tons of recycling to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation and earned $96,356 for the effort.
Mr. Corvi said the money earned by the town has, in the past, been used to off-set equipment purchases and other costs at recycling center on Upland Way. The director said he was not sure what the money would be used for this year. A press release from Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation stated that recycling profits are earmarked strictly for municipal recycling programs.
“RIRRC staff expects to see various investments made in different programs, from the purchase of large, automated toter recycling carts, to increased informational collateral materials, to enhanced educational outreach in schools, to help bolster recycling activity statewide,” stated the release.
Mr. Corvi said it wasn’t clear whether the increased recycling profits could be due in part to the town’s move to a private trash and recycling collection contractor. In prior years, the Barrington DPW picked up trash weekly and recycling every other week, but that changed when the town contracted with MEGA Disposal. That company, which is based out of Seekonk, Mass., has its workers pick up Barrington’s trash and recycling every week.
On Thursday morning, officials from Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation distributed checks to municipalities across the state totaling nearly $2 million.
“In the current economic climate, where municipalities are universally tightening their belts, every little bit helps,” said Michael O’Connell, executive director of RIRRC. “Because the recycling markets performed well during the past year, Rhode Island’s municipalities are receiving a greater return than in 2011 — and when our municipal partners benefit, we benefit. We are excited to see the positive change that these monies will enact in our communities.
Town/state Population Average recycled per person, per year (in pounds)
Barrington – 16,310 – 272
Bristol – 22,954 – 137
Warren – 10,611 – 236
State – 1,052,567 – 172
Recycling in the East Bay
Here’s a look at how the towns across the East Bay shaped up with their recycling efforts in 2012:
Town, Tons delivered Share of profits
– Barrington 2,218 $47,563
– Bristol 1,573 $33,743
– East Providence 4,493 $96,356
– Little Compton 589 $12,631
– Portsmouth 1,968 $42,216
– Tiverton 1,969 $42,233
– Warren 1,250 $26,817
Recycling made easier
In June, the state launched a new recycling program called “Recycle Together RI,” which allows residents to mix all their recycling items together. No longer are residents required to separate paper from plastics before placing it in bins.
“You can put anything but scrap metal in the bins,” said Barrington Public Works Director Alan Corvi. “It can all be mixed. It’s all separated at the facility.”
According to a press release from the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, the new program is already producing improved recycling rates: “During July 2012, the first full month of single stream recycling operation, RIRRC processed 400 tons of recyclable material per day, 7.5 percent more material than during the same period in 2011.”