Politics & Policies

The Amazing Trash Race

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by Josh Wood Tuesday September 21, 2010

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation recently issued cash rebates to 36 Rhode Island cities and towns based on their recycling rates. Of the total $681,014, Cranston received $59,492.

In spite of the No Bin No Barrel policy enacted a year ago, Cranston’s recycling rate has increased by less than a percentage point. The city recycled at a rate of 22% in 2010, compared to 21.2% in 2009. Smithfield, recycling poster child, saw their rate jump 6% in just two months after their No Bin No Barrel policy took effect. Even Providence saw a 3% boost as a result of the policy. Cranston’s tepid response to the policy is a mystery.

The financial benefits of recycling are clear, at least on the municipal level. Cities pay for trash removal in “tipping fees,” which amount to $32 a ton for Cranston. A significant amount of money can be saved when recycled goods are diverted from the landfill. Tipping fees shrink as recycling rates grow.

I’d love to see Cranston step up to a Pay As You Throw policy, where trash removal is paid for by volume. Residents and businesses with less waste would pay a fairer share of the haul, and recycling would have a direct impact on household finances.

Cash for Trash Leaderboard

Town/City Recycling Rate Profit Share
Charlestown 33% $3,176
North Kingstown 33% $27,340
North Smithfield 32% $11,983
Portsmouth 30% $15,365
East Greenwich 28% $13,782
Barrington 27% $17,169
Glocester 26% $9,020
Richmond 26% $5,649
Smithfield 26% $17,042
Warwick 26% $78,033
Jamestown 25% $5,802
Woonsocket 25% $24,238
Burrillville 24% $12,798
Warren 24% $9,516
West Greenwich 24% $2,983
East Providence 23% $35,041
Exeter 23% $4,949
Lincoln 23% $16,668
Westerly/Hopkinton 23% $23,503
Cranston 22% $59,492
New Shoreham 22% $4,475
Newport 22% $17,470
Scituate 22% $9,522
Cumberland 21% $26,294
Foster 21% $4,171
Little Compton 21% $3,620
Coventry 20% $25,732
North Providence 20% $21,027
Bristol 16% $11,215
Pawtucket 14% $30,291
Providence 13% $75,212
Johnston 12% $17,070
South Kingstown/Narragansett n/a $28,402
Tiverton n/a $12,963
21% $681,014

Photo by jritch

[where: 02910]

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