SAKONNET AREA — Recycling paid dividends for Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton last week as all three towns received checks representing their share of profits realized from the state’s sale of recyclables during the 2012 fiscal year.
The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation earned a total profit of $1.94 million during the year, money that was divided among participating communities based on the amount of recyclables they delivered.
“Because the recycling markets performed well during the past year, Rhode Island’s municipalities are receiving a greater rerun than in 2011,” said Michael O’Connell, RIRRC executive director.
In 2011, towns received about $20 per ton, while in 2012 that payoff increased to about $21 per ton.
This year, unlike last, the money must be spent on something to do with recycling, not merely put into the general fund.
Tiverton received a check for $42,233 for a total of 1,969.56 tons of recycled materials.
Steven Berlucchi, the town’s public works director, said the check is an “uptick” from 2011 when the town got about $40,000. He credited good recycling work by townspeople which has led to a “very, very successful program.”
The recycling increases are among the benefits of two town policies — one that requires everyone to put out a recycling bin in order to have regular trash collected, and the Pay as You Throw system through which townspeople pay for each bag of trash that they put curbside.
Mr. Berlucchi said the programs have both contributed to a substantial recycling increase in Tiverton over the past two years.
Portsmouth’s check was almost identical to Tiverton’s — $42,217 for 1,968.79 tons of recyclables.
Robert Gessler, chairman of the town’s recycling committee, said the announcement continues a trend of better results in Portsmouth.
The tonnage was actually about the same this year as last, he said, but the formula provided an extra $1,130 to Portsmouth. He said the committee will meet within the week to discuss how the $42,217 might best be used.
Mr. Gessler said that recyclables now amount to about 35 percent of the town’s trash flow, a big improvement from half a dozen years ago when the percentage was about half that.
He said that Transfer Station operator Patriot Disposal has supplied more recycling bins at the station which has helped — “In the past, when the bins filled up it all went in with the regular trash.”
He added, though, that the Hedly Street Transfer Station still faces the challenge of too little space which hinders efforts to improve things further.
Accepting the award for Portsmouth, town councilor Judy Staven said, “I would like to point out that the only way this is possible is through the concentrated recycling efforts of the citizens who use the Transfer Station. I think that this amply demonstrates that recycling brings big benefits to the Town.”
Little Compton’s check was for $12,632, its payment for 589 tons of recyclables delivered.