It’s been more than a month since Wilmington officials announced their plans to more strictly enforce the town bylaw requiring residents to recycle. So just what impact has the announcement had in town?
According to Superintendent Don Onusseit and Town Manager Michael Caira, it’s too early for specific figures but residents are passing the eye test so far.
“I can’t quantify it, but I have definitely seen an increase,” said Caira. “My gut says people are recycling who have not been in the past.”
The town will not begin to refuse trash pick up for residents who are not recycling until July 1. But in the meantime, homeowners without recyclables have been receiving stickers warning them of the upcoming plans to leave trash behind.
Onusseit said there has been a significant spike in the number of people coming in to the DPW and to pick up pick up calendars and recycling stickers for their barrels.
“We’re still in the education phase,” said Onusseit. “We’ve talked to other towns, and this is how they’ve done it. It seems to have worked in other towns, so we’re going to follow that model.”
Caira said the town will soon have definitive numbers to prove just how much the crackdown is having. The DPW receives month by month statistics that show how much recycling the town does. By comparing that to the month before residents were informed of the upcoming plans, the town will see if there’s been a spike.
The Town Manager added that during a recent drive around town, he passed through an area that was scheduled for trash pick up that day.
“It really looked to me as though there was a marked increase in the number of people with recycling out,” said Caira. “Just visually, it appears as though recycling is picking up. We’ll know soon enough.”
Onusseit said refusing trash pick up for non-recyclers is a last resort, but a necessary step in sending a message to Wilmington residents.
“My goal would be to not ever have to leave trash behind, but I suspect we will have to,” said Onusseit. “I think when it happens once to someone, that person or persons will be unhappy. But they probably won’t do it again.”