EAST GREENWICH — Local residents are going to notice a change regarding their recycling over the next couple of months.
Joe Duarte, the director of the East Greenwich Department of Public Works announced last week a new protocol for recycle pick-ups throughout the town that will be in place sometime around September.
The most noticeable change residents will see is their new blue bins will be substantially larger. Duarte said, as part of switching to an automated program, the DPW will provide each household with a 96-gallon container that should be “adequately sized” to fit all recyclables for pick-up, very similar to what the City of Warwick has for its respective municipality.
Duarte said that for recyclables to be picked up at the residences, all recyclables – such as cans, bottles and cardboard – all must be placed inside the new containers.
“We encourage everybody to fold those cardboard boxes (and place them in the containers) because it’s all going to be picked up at the end of the week,” Duarte said.
Duarte had a mini community forum last Tuesday evening at Swift Community Center to explain the new program to residents, a program that will also feature a new schedule for pick-up. Duarte said, and confirmed in a phone interview last Wednesday afternoon, that the recycled items will be picked up every other week, with the trash schedule of every week remaining the same.
“It’s a cleaner program having these recycling carts at the curb,” Duarte said.
Duarte said the reasoning for the alterations to the recycling program is to save taxpayer dollars within East Greenwich. He stated that when DPW spoke with trash haulers, they said it could be as much as $100,000 savings annually with the program. However, Duarte said East Greenwich won’t be getting that kind of savings because of the cost of the container.
But, this year alone, Duarte said, the Town has saved between $30,000 and $40,000 with this type of collection and the Town will own all of the containers when everything is said and done.
“The trash haulers were the ones who bought the containers and they absorb the cost and charge us that back over five years,” Duarte said. “So at the end of five years, we’re going to see a greater savings to the community because the costs of the containers will be paid for.”
Duarte also said he doesn’t have a set schedule yet because the new program is in its early stages and he hopes to have the new containers rolled out to the public just before the start of the fall season.
Duarte added that the only kinks that exist in terms of getting the program off the ground is figuring out a plan for apartment complexes and mixed-use buildings where each residence in those buildings, with the old program, had their own recycling bins.
“We want to make sure that for everybody who is recycling now, we want to give them a container,” Duarte said. “There may be a handful of them who we may miss and we would have to go back to them afterward. Otherwise, the program should be on target.”