The Block Island Times

Recycling pays back

Sep 20, 2012
Photo by: Constance Brown Photography New Shoreham Facility Manager Sean McGarry, center, is all smiles as Governor Chafee and Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) Executive Director Mike O'Connell present him with New Shoreham's fiscal year 2012 recycling profits, $13,000.

Municipal officials from across the state gathered at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation last week to accept their share of the profit, $1.94 million, from RIRRC’s sale of recyclables in fiscal year 2012. This year’s recycling profits, presented to city and town officials by Michael O’Connell, RIRRC Executive Director, are earmarked to be reinvested in each municipality’s respective recycling program.

Block Island Recycling Management’s Sean McGarry was there to pick up a check for $13,135.

Up until now, McGarry said later, the island’s share of recycling profits went to BIRM, which put it back into the recycling program. But the company’s new management agreement with the town means the money will be shared between the company and the town. McGarry said he was drafting a letter asking town officials for guidance, and suggesting some areas where the town might invest in recycling, such as more signage and more public trash cans downtown.

“It is an absolute pleasure to take part in today’s profit sharing ceremony,” said O’Connell. “In the current economic climate, where municipalities are universally tightening their belts, every little bit helps. Because the recycling markets performed well during the past year, Rhode Island’s municipalities are receiving a greater return than in 2011.”

In June, recycling became even easier with the launch of Recycle Together RI, the new statewide recycling program that allows residents to put all their recyclables together. They are separated at the landfill.

During July 2012, the first full month of single stream recycling operation, RIRRC processed 400 tons of recyclable material per day, 7.5 percent more material than during the same period in 2011, Johnston officials said.

O’Connell commented that “for every single item that lands in a recycling bin rather than the trash, we extend the life of the landfill, we help protect our local environment and, most importantly, we save money for the cities and towns of Rhode Island.”

New Shoreham may be the smallest town in the state, but it more than holds its own when it comes to recycling. The island transfer station shipped 612 tons of recyclables to the state landfill, more than Charlestown, Exeter, Foster, Little Compton, Richmond and West Greenwich. That’s partly because Block Island is one of only two communities in the state to send its commercial trash and recycling to Johnston along with its residential waste, McGarry said. Commercial recycling has improved dramatically on the island in recent years, McGarry added.


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