Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recycling 101

We're two weeks in to the new No Bin, No Barrel rule here in town and I'm disappointed to see first hand that it's not being enforced.

This morning, I watched as one of my neighbors had their lone trash barrel emptied by Patriot (the waste hauler) with no recycling bins in sight. As I said before, this new rule is only going to be successful if two things happen: Enforcement and Education.

So far, neither appear to be happening. I sent our DPW director an email just now saying just that. If you're going to talk the talk, you have to be ready to walk the walk. Granted, this could be an isolated incident (we'll see next week), but if your front line people (the hauler employees) are not sticking to the plan, then you might as well toss that plan right out the window.

Now for the education:

Most of us know this (I hope), but NOT EVERYTHING IS RECYCLABLE. There was a letter to the editor in this week's Sakonnet Times lamenting that even though this person recycles "pretty much everything" all their toy box plastic from a recent party was not picked up. My guess is that the plastic this person is talking about is neither #1 or #2, which is what we're currently limited to. (Check out the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation's list of recycling FAQs and a copy of their Recycling Don'ts brochure for more how-to. Or this quick tutorial on the plastics numbering system.)

Again, this new rule presented the town with a prime opportunity to engage the community with a recycling education campaign. Maybe that's still in the works? Timing is everything though and from where I sit, time is ticking away.

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