PORTSMOUTH — On Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22), Portsmouth Recycles! will host the kickoff of the first East Bay Community Recycling Competition, which its lead promoter says is the first of its kind in Rhode Island.It’s a friendly competition between Portsmouth, Bristol, Middletown and Newport aimed at boosting recycling rates and reduce solid waste in each participating community.
“The idea here is to spark competitive drives and local pride to up levels of recycling and reduce solid waste,” said Kyle Hence, Portsmouth’s recycling coordinator. “With our aspirational goal of zero waste, we are not only following nature’s lead, we will also be saving taxpayer money.”
Added Krystal Noiseux, recycling program manager at R.I. Resource Recovery, “It’s great to see the East Bay community harness their competitive spirits in an effort to boost recycling. It’s good for the environment, the economy, and each other. In the end, no matter which town comes out on top, everyone wins here.”
A launch event is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Portsmouth Town Hall on Earth Day Tuesday. It will bring together city and town councilors and recycling coordinators from each community for a short presentation.
Every two weeks, numbers on recycling and solid waste collection for each community will be released by R.I. Resource Recovery, with the final tallies and winners announced at the end of the school year. An awards ceremony will be held shortly after the start of school in September.
“We are thinking that this is the first of its kind, certainly in Rhode Island,” said Mr. Hence, “It’s our hope that other communities across the state will join the founding four to compete, inspiring and motivating residents to promote recycling in all sorts of creative ways.”
Janet Coit, director, of the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), said the competition is a win-win proposition. “The community that prevails in the East Bay will win the competition, and also score a big win for the environment by reducing waste,” she said. “Earth Day highlights the need to protect the lands and waters that sustain us.”
Added Tim Sweeney, a member of both the Bristol Town Council and Bristol Recycles, “Participating in this competition with our East Bay neighbors could give Bristol residents a vested interest in learning to maximize our recycling habits. Recycling is both environmentally and fiscally friendly.”
The recycling contest is the vision of Mr. Hence, who kicked off the Portsmouth Recycles! campaign last November. A dedicated Facebook page and Twitter feed soon followed in order to engage and inform Portsmouth residents.
The campaign also featured an recycling-themed art contest, which was recently won by Eleanor White, a sixth-grade student at Portsmouth Middle School.
Bristol Recycles, working to boost rates in Bristol and Warren, is planning a Recycling Day on Saturday, April 26, and a free screening of the documentary, “Trashed,” at the Mt. Hope High School auditorium at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 27.