From July 2010 through March 2011, a total of tons were collected -- an increase of 1568.94 tons or 167 percent, Edwards said.
While the environmental benefits of recycling are obvious, the financial implications of removing almost 1570 tons of waste from the incinerator are just as substantial, he said.
Westport solid waste is currently disposed of at the Wheelabrator Incinerator in Bridgeport at a total cost (incineration, trucking, transfer station operation) of approximately $85 per ton, Edwards said.
Removal of 1570 tons from the waste stream has an immediate benefit of approximately $134,000, he said. An additional benefit of the new single stream contract is a rebate of $20 per ton for every ton delivered to the processing facility in Hartford. The rebate accounts for another $31,375 in revenue from the sale of the recyclables, according to Edwards.
Based on the success of the program to date, it is estimated that the program will result in an annual savings of approximately $220,000, he said.
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Since July 2011, Westport had partnered with nine other communities in the region in initiating single stream recycling - Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, Monroe, Easton, Orange, Woodbridge and East Haven.
Reviewing the history of recycling in Westport, Edwards said since its inception in 1991, town residents could only recycle acceptable plastic containers (only those items labeled with a 1 or 2), cans and bottles. They placed the recyclables in the bottom of the blue bin and then put newspapers and newsprint and junk mail bundled or in a brown paper bag on top.
“The single stream process has enabled residents to place all items together in the bin,” he said.
Separation of the individual commodities is performed by a combination of manual labor and automated equipment using density, magnets, and optical scanners, Edwards said. The actual sorting process is performed by ReCommunity Recycling at the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) Hartford facility.
“In addition to simplifying the process, the single stream contract has allowed for the recycling of additional commodities, specifically all plastic food containers numbered 1 thru 7, chipboard products including cereal boxes and shoe boxes, all junk mail, aseptic containers, including milk and juice cartons and single service juice boxes, and aerosol cans that contain food or cosmetic products (not paint or automotive products),” Edwards said.
“Success of the Westport recycling program is due in no small part to the cooperation of the local refuse haulers,” said Edwards.
Seven licensed refuse haulers are responsible for servicing the Westport community. In the past nine months, the seven haulers have collected 5,471 tons of municipal solid waste and another 2,073 tons of recyclables for a recycling rate of 38 percent. The recycling rates for the individual haulers are:
- Adams Refuse 32
- Bayberry Services 17
- City Carting 27
- Cousins Carting 33
- D&D Refuse 45
- J&J Refuse 28
- Malone’s Refuse 49
“As suggested by the increased recycling volumes, residents have been very supportive of the new initiative,” he said.
The Westport Transfer Station located at 300 Sherwood Connector.
Westport continues to accept additional recyclable commodities not accepted in the blue bin. These products include all electronics, fluorescent and CFL bulbs, all batteries, scrap metal, automotive oil, and antifreeze, Edwards said.
Further information on services and hours of operation of the transfer station can be found on the website at www.westportct.gov under the Department of Public Works.