RI towns profit from recycling – but still need to clean up act

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The cities and towns of Rhode Island earned $551,700 together for their recyclables sold in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

But while recycling load tonnage is going up, so is the amount of garbage and waste that doesn’t belong in recycling bins, said Michael O’Connell, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), on Tuesday.

The RIRRC handed out its profit shares in a ceremony at the Johnston Materials Recycling Facility Tuesday morning, with checks presented to each municipality. The intent was to celebrate the hard work done to recycle — though a reprimand was present as well.

“We’re seeing a decrease in the quality and condition of the recyclables. That’s why it’s important for the cities and towns to keep up their programs and recycling education efforts,” O’Connell said.

In the past, the RIRRC has sent out cards and mailers showing what materials belong in recycling bins. Over the past year, however, the corporation has seen an increase in the number of recycling loads containing plastic bags (which clog recycling processing machines), food and yard waste, and dangerous items such as used diapers, hypodermic needles and propane gas tanks.

Recycling helps every Rhode Island city and town keep costs down by reducing the amount of garbage sent to the landfill, “reducing the burden on municipal budgets and the taxpayer,” said O’Connell.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the state recycled 98,400 tons of newspapers, cardboard, plastic containers and cans and bottles (while Massachusetts and Connecticut do collect a 5-cent deposit, deposits are not collected on cans and bottles in Rhode Island).

Municipality Share of Profit Tons Delivered in FY15
Barrington $12,935.94 2,407
Bristol $11,108.51 2,067
Burrillville $10,100.38 1,880
Central Falls $8,879.68 1,652
Charlestown $2,293.90 427
Coventry $19,786.15 3,682
Cranston $39,424.42 7,337
Cumberland $20,412.38 3,799
East Greenwich $8,869.69 1,651
East Providence $25,372.83 4,722
Exeter $3,457.59 643
Foster $2,693.64 501
Glocester $6,819.80 1,269
Jamestown $5,295.76 986
Johnston (2) $33,835.74 1,998
Lincoln $10,876.37 2,024
Little Compton $2,904.92 541
Middletown $8,492.31 1,580
Narragansett $12,799.55 2,382
New Shoreham $3,225.35 600
Newport $12,301.00 2,289
North Kingstown $17,364.25 3,231
North Providence $15,108.83 2,812
North Smithfield $7,046.45 1,311
Pawtucket $43,981.32 8,185
Portsmouth $10,803.46 2,011
Providence $33,156.96 6,170
Richmond $4,375.17 814
Scituate $6,417.86 1,194
Smithfield $12,850.17 2,391
South Kingstown $13,321.98 2,479
Tiverton $10,655.74 1,983
Warren $6,977.19 1,298
Warwick $52,994.91 9,862
West Greenwich $2,037.42 379
West Warwick $11,998.69 2,233
Westerly-Hopkinton (3) $23,802.32 4,430
Woonsocket $15,611.36 2,905

Data furnished by Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation
(1) The state of Rhode Island delivered 284 tons and earned $1,384.94
(2) Johnston received additional funds from the out of state pool, designated for storm water mitigation
(3) Westerly & Hopkinton share a recycling facility

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