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With Pick Up Refusal on Horizon, Recycling Spikes

Local officials say recycling efforts appear to be increasing since crackdown announcement.

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.”

Melissa Erickson May 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM
I am ALL for the recycling and I am happy we are cracking down on it a bit more. That being said in order to make this program a bit better I would want to suggest that 1) Recycling moves from an every other week schedule to every week. By the time the pick up day arrives I have 4 recycling bins overflowing of stuff and 2) Bigger recycling bins if they aren't going to pick up every week. Does anyone know if they are considering the every week pick up by any chance?
webmom May 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Melissa, I agree about more recycling! It would be nice. Maybe Wilmington can look at other towns that have a successful recycling program and try to mimic some of their efforts for even more success (Hamilton, Ipswich have a lot of new initiatives). I would love to see Wilmington give out compost bins...how about it Wilmington?
Frank Irizarry May 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I agree with Melissa. I have been recycling for the past three years and an every other week pick-up schedule is not sufficient. On windy days, my neighbor's overfull bins scatter recycling materials all over the neighborhood.
Roopam Garg May 16, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Agreed with Melissa. My recycle bin is overflowing by the time we get to pickup. Wilmington should definitely add weekly recycling pick up.
Melissa Erickson May 16, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Who can we contact about the every week pick up? Is that a town thing that needs to go for a vote or can we petition it? @Matt @ Patch - is that some info you can find out?
Daniel May 16, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I agree with Melissa as well. Every other week is a mess....overflowing trash everywhere.
Matt Schooley (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I'll check into it and let you all know what I find out!
Adam May 16, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I agree every week for recycling is a must.
Kevin MacDonald May 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Every week pick up would increase the cost most likely. I would suggest that you put in a public records request for a copy of the contract for trash pick up and recycling pick up. Do an evaluation and see if the budget amount is over inflated like other budget amounts. Did you people come to Town Meeting and vote to be taxed again for Salt and sand for the snow and ice while watching the overage surplus from last year go into the free cash account? Would it make you happy if banker buddies are getting bank balances increased at your expense?

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