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City expands single stream recycling program on Dec. 1

Date: 11/11/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD City residents who have been dutifully sorting their recyclables into separate containers will soon be able to put all of their waste metal, plastic, glass and paper into one bin.

City officials announced last week that beginning Dec. 1 the single-stream recycling program that had been a pilot project in one section of the city would be extended to the entire city.

There will be 14,000 95-gallon blue barrels distributed to city residents during November. Those households that do not receive one of the new recycling barrels will be able to continue using their current containers, according to Al Chwalek, the director of Public Works.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said the city saves $46 on each ton of material that is recycled rather than brought to a landfill. He said the effort was part of the city "continuing to go green."

Springfield will be the first city in Western Massachusetts and one of the few communities in the state with a single-stream recycling program, according to Steve Ellis, the deputy director of the state's Department of Environmental Protection.

Ellis said the new recycling program will offer "convenience and simplicity" to residents. The city should see a dramatic increase in recycling, he predicted. He hopes to see other communities adopt the single-stream model.

Greg Suprenault, the city's recycling coordinator, said the city's current recycling rate is 10 percent. He said the hope is to see an increase to 15 percent, although officials believe it is possible to see participation to rise to 18 to 20 percent.

The new wheeled barrels, coupled with the single-stream system, will cut down on the cost of collection, Suprenault added. He explained that drivers could go through their routes quicker with the single-stream system.

According to a fact sheet that will be distributed to city residents, the recycling pick-up will be on the same day it is now. The type of trash that can be accepted remains the same. Residents are asked not to put plastic bags or Styrofoam containers into the recycling bins. Flattened cardboard that cannot fit into the bin can be bundled and placed out next to it.

Residents do not have to be at home to accept delivery of the wheeled carts. If they have questions, they can call the city's 3-1-1 information service.