300 tons recycled so far

Published 9:33 pm Monday, October 3, 2011

After about a month of Suffolk’s new citywide curbside recycling program, officials with the city and with TFC Recycling are pleased with how it has gone so far.

More than 600,000 pounds of recyclable material have been collected from Suffolk residents, TFC president Michael Benedetto said on Saturday.

“It’s incredible when you think about it,” he said. “We’ve just been blown away.”


Email newsletter signup

At last week’s City Council retreat, Public Works Director Eric Nielsen said about 70 percent of the city’s residents had been participating in the program.

“That’s what we expected, based on what other communities have done,” Nielsen said.

The city instituted a new fee, $17.50 per month, this fiscal year in order to pay for the new recycling service, as well as trash pickup, Hosier Road landfill monitoring and other waste-disposal services.

TFC Recycling was chosen to provide the service. Every household should now have a 95-gallon blue bin, into which residents can dump a variety of materials, including glass, plastic bottles, cardboard, mixed paper and steel cans. Benedetto said any family that does not yet have a cart should call 543-5766.

Benedetto said the company was slowed somewhat in its cart delivery process by Hurricane Irene, but still got them out earlier than they originally anticipated.

Also seeing good participation is the Recycling Perks program, Benedetto said. About 15 percent of Suffolk customers are participating in that program.

The Recycling Perks program tracks participation through electronic chips implanted in the cart handles. When the cart is picked up by the truck, a device on the truck reads the chip. At the end of a route, the information is downloaded to a computer system that allows TFC to monitor who is participating and how often.

In return for participating, residents get coupons for local merchants.

“The coupons are extremely usable,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said at last week’s retreat. “Grocery stores and things we all use every day.”

Benedetto said Suffolk has a larger percentage of residents signed up for Recycling Perks than any other city.

“We’re getting some wonderful feedback from retail businesses,” Benedetto said. “They’re so happy they have an opportunity to drive traffic to their business.”

Also, with the knowledge of which residents are not participating in the program, TFC and the city can find out why they are not recycling and educate them.

“We’ve been very pleasantly surprised,” Benedetto said. “It’s been tremendous.”