Town officials promised this spring that they would be enforcing recycling bylaws in an effort to save money and lessen the impact Wilmington has on the environment. After several months, the town has remained true to its word, and it’s paying off.
According to Town Manager Michael Caira, the town saw a spike in recycling each month since the announcement was made, evident by the amount of trash disposed. In June, Wilmington had 716 tons disposed of, compared to 882 tons in the same month of 2011.
“It’s going exceedingly well,” said Caira. “I can tell you we are seeing less trash being picked up and delivered in terms of tonnage, and we are seeing much more recycling. That’s a good thing. We pay both for trash and recycling pickup, but only for trash disposal. So the less trash, the more money we save.”
For more numbers on the success of the enforcement, Superintendent of Public Works Don Onusseit said there has been a spike of 16 percent in recycling tonnage.
In addition to the strong June numbers, the amount of trash disposed of was also lower in March, April and May, compared to the same time last year.
“Our fiscal year trash totals were as low as I’ve ever seen them in my 15 years,” said Onusseit. “It really dropped down last quarter, and the recycling is up as well. The town is saving money, so we are going to keep at it.”
The town announced its plans to enforce recycling in the spring, and officially began doing so on July 1. As a result, if residents do not recycle, their trash is left behind with a note informing them of the requirement to recycle.
Caira said not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of having their trash left behind, but added that it is a simple step for residents to take.
“What we’re seeing now is an indication that people are taking this seriously,” said Caira. “Clearly some people are unhappy with it. But I think a lot of it is that they don’t realize how easy it is, and how much recycling there is within their trash. It’s my expectation that we’re going to see similar numbers moving forward.”
Onusseit said residents have been cooperative for the most part, but added that the town will continue to be diligent moving forward.
“Most people are taking it to heart,” said Onusseit. “People who hadn’t recycled aggressively are calling to find out more information and getting more bins. You have people that have not recycled and are complaining about it. They’ll have to get with the program. For the most part though, we’re happy with the results.”