Baker-Polito Administration Announces Program to Reduce Contamination in the Residential Recycling Stream

The City of Lynn will be receiving  $40,000 in a state grant on educationg residents on how to recycle better.

The Baker-Polito administration has announced a new resource through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth increase the quality of the residential recycling stream. The Recycling IQ Kit will help municipalities educate residents on how to better recycle in order to remove contaminants from the recycling stream and make those materials more attractive to the world’s commodity markets. The program funding of $187,500 involves awards of $40,000 each to Dartmouth, Lowell, Lynn and New Bedford, $20,000 to Halifax, and $7,500 to Chatham. Additional funding is available to more communities that signup to implement the strategies included in the Recycling IQ Kit program.

“The Commonwealth is committed to sustainability and protection of our environment, and working collectively, we can continue to increase the economic value and environmental benefit of recycling in all of our communities,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “The Recycling IQ Kit is an innovative way to help cities and towns reach these important goals.”

“Cities and towns lead the way when it comes to recycling, so we are proud to offer this new program to help reduce their recycling costs,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.“The Recycling IQ Kit is designed for communities to easily provide feedback and information so residents better understand what can go into the recycling cart.”

The Commonwealth encourages residents do their part to recycle at home, work or school, however, items are often placed in recycling bins that can contaminate the valuable materials and add handling costs at the local recycling facility. The Recycling IQ Kit provides steps, tools and resources to “Increase the Quality” or IQ of the materials collected locally.

“Massachusetts residents are eager to recycle, but at times, recycling can be confusing and putting unwanted items in a recycling container can increase costs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Recycling IQ Kit will help residents make good recycling decisions to reduce trash costs and create greater recycling value.”

“MassDEP is committed to working with municipal recycling officials, haulers and recycling facilities to clean up the materials stream and insure a healthier recycling industry,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “With a robust recycling infrastructure in Massachusetts, it’s more important than ever to protect the investments made by local and state government and private industry and keep the supply chain of good, clean recyclables flowing to end-users to make new products and packaging.”

Lynn City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre was pleased to see the grant awarded to Lynn.

“This is a much needed infusion of investment by the state, who recognize the ongoing education and work being done in the city around recycling,” said LaPierre.

“This began last summer when we had recycling teams, performing random checks of out totes to educate and ensure compliance so that we as city become more “green” and recycling savvy,” added LaPierre. “These resources will go a long way toward improving our recycling rate and result in a greater savings to Lynn.”

“As the Commonwealth looks for innovative new ways to combat the growing issue of climate change, the Department of Environmental Protection’s newly established Recycling IQ Kit will bolster municipal efforts to ensure the safe and seamless disposal of discarded materials,” said State Sen. Eileen M. Donoghue (D-Lowell). “This funding will assist the City of Lowell as it continues its efforts to be an environmentally sustainable community.”

“This funding will empower Lowell to further improve residential recycling in ways that benefit our environment, as well as our local economy,” said State Rep. Thomas A. Golden, Jr., (D-Lowell), chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.  “We look forward to working with MassDEP to achieve these goals and are excited to utilize their Recycling IQ Kit to provide our residents with the information they need to recycle more effectively.”

“Because residential recycling isn’t as simple as one would think, outreach is needed. Plastic bags from the grocery store, for example, can’t be included in single-stream recycling to the surprise of many,” said State Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). “And that’s where this Recycling IQ Kit comes in. New Bedford residents want to recycle efficiently and this $40,000 grant will help us do that.”

The Recycling IQ Kit was created by MassDEP and The Recycling Partnership, and it has been tested in nearly a dozen Massachusetts communities. Municipalities can apply for funding of $7,500 to $40,000 to implement the Recycling IQ program, which involves providing direct feedback to residents by leaving “oops” tags on recycling carts letting them know what should and should not be recycled. The funding also pays for production of signage, mailers and banners and for staff to monitor recycling carts and distribute educational materials.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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