For every ton of bottles, cans, and plastic containers that residents recycle (rather than throw away in the trash), the City saves $80. That means that a 1% change in the City’s recycling rate would save more than $200,000 each year.
Next time you complain about something in the city being underfunded, take a second to make sure you aren't putting recyclables in the trash. Even better, make sure you're telling your neighbors to do the same. The city trash regulations say that recyclables may not go in the trash, so if you're a landlord or a member of a homeowners association, make sure you're telling your tenants or your fellow HOA members that they need to be following the city regulations. Also, reduce your trash output even further by composting (there are many options for composting on a balcony or even in your kitchen) and encourage the city to start collecting curbside compostables.
But what we really need to do is get the city to do pay-as-you-throw metered trash:
Communities have doubled and even tripled their recycling rates after implementing the WasteZero System.
The programs are fair. When the cost of trash disposal is hidden in property taxes or charged at a flat rate, households that recycle and prevent waste subsidize their neighbors' wastefulness. Under Trash Metering, households pay only for what they throw away.
Or, at the very least, we need to get them to enforce the code when people are filling trash cans and trash bags with obvious recyclables. This would get revenue for the city and get people to stop killing the planet as much. Hmm, I wonder if a massive Citizens Connect movement over the next few trash days would get anything done? We could submit hundreds of reports of recyclables in the trash.
By the way, while we're talking about the city and its recycling programs, I still think the giant plastic recycling bags are stupid for the most part. I might get some once in a while for massive file-cabinet cleanouts, but otherwise, I still don't think these bags are going to get people to recycle who can't be bothered to put out recycling in paper bags or blue bins. However, if they're going to have such a program, how about if they sell the bags in all of the neighborhoods where the program is active? There aren't any locations in Roxbury, South Boston, or Mission Hill, all of which are allowed to use the bags. As usual, we know which neighborhoods city hall cares about.