East Boston resident Tina St. Gelais and her daughter, Natalia, got a thrill of a lifetime last Thursday afternoon as Mayor Thomas Menino personally delivered a new single-stream recycling bin to the family’s 11 Princeton Street home.
Menino and the St. Gelais’ were joined by City Councilor Sal LaMattina and other city officials to celebrate the expansion of the city’s new recycling program to East Boston.
In June 2009, Menino announced that city officials expect to exceed over $1 million in annual savings due to a new and innovative, single-stream recycling program. As part of the recycling program, the city rolled out over 55,000 carts across the city making it easier for residents in individual households or triple-deckers here to collect their recyclables.
“This single-stream recycling program is key to Boston’s sustainability and is a great example of how we are thinking creatively to make sure Boston’s future is bright despite the difficult economic times we’re facing,” said Menino. “This program makes recycling easier for residents to help the environment.”
Single-stream recycling allows users to combine all recyclables from pizza boxes to plastic soda bottles and glass containers into one bin. The program will also accept what are known as “rigid plastics” – children’s’ toys and other hard plastics typically not accepted in regular recycling.
To help educate Boston residents how easy the new program is more than 300,000 Recycling and Trash Guides are currently being mailed to every household in Boston.
“Recycling is one of the easiest steps individuals can take to both improve our environment and reduce costs of waste disposal,” said Jim Hunt, Chief of Environmental Services for the City. “The pilot programs we advanced in several Boston neighborhoods increased recycling by more than 50 percent and clearly demonstrated that Boston residents want to do their part to recycle more.”
Economically, the more residents recycle the bigger the cost savings to the City. The cost to recycle a ton of waste is $40 cheaper than it is to send to landfills or incinerators and the City expects to see a surge in recycling participation resulting in approximately $1 million in savings every year.
The expansion of the program in East Boston builds on the work that the City of Boston has already done to test single-stream recycling strategies in an effort to increase participation, tonnage and cleanliness of its weekly curbside recycling collection during the last two years.