Colonial Heights sees big jump in recycling
By Staff Reports
Jul 29, 2013, 15:13
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — A program started a year ago to encourage recycling in the city is paying off.
The city has seen a 61 percent jump in recycling since implementing the program in July 2012 that changed the sizes of trash and recycling containers and rewards recyclers with discounts at area businesses.
Central Virginia Waste Management Authority recently presented numbers to City Council showing how much recycling has increased.
City staff said the program has not only increased services and saved money, but has helped reduce the amount of trash going into the landfill by 506 tons in the past year alone.
At the same time, recycling increased by 540 tons.
Participation in curbside recycling has been steadily growing, but in the past year it has roughly doubled, increasing to 62 percent, making the city the leader among the 13 localities that CVWMA serves, including Hopewell, Petersburg, Chesterfield and Prince George.
“We are very proud of Colonial Heights. City leaders took a very innovative approach to
promoting and encouraging recycling,” said Kim Hynes, CVWMA Executive Director. “Our
collection data for this past year shows that by taking a leadership role in the region, Colonial
Heights reduced its waste stream by increasing its recycling efforts at the curb. We hope that others will follow their lead.”
Last year, Colonial Heights replaced existing 96-gallon trash containers with a smaller, 68- gallon carts and provided a much larger green 96-gallon recycling containers.
“When we implemented these programs a year ago, we knew it would be for the overall
good, even though it meant changes in long-established service routines” said Mayor Scott Davis.
These new programs have also resulted in savings for the city. In fiscal year 2012-13, the cost of residential trash and recycling services decreased by more than $250,000.
“Achieving this cost reduction was absolutely imperative to producing balanced budgets
for the last two years. Without those savings in the General Fund, the City would have had to
raised taxes or significantly decreased services,” said City Manager Tom Mattis. “It’s actually been an ideal situation; It’s a significant achievement anytime the City can enhance services, help the environment, and save money in the process.”
Through contracts with Container First Services and TFC Recycling, the city and
CVWMA worked together to also educate residents on recycling.
In addition to adjusting the sizes of the trash and recycling carts, the city implemented an incentive program to reward residents for recycling. Through the ‘Recycling Perks’ program residents can receive points each time they set out their recycling cart.
The carts have radio frequency identification tags that link them to a computer system and they can tell how much each person has been recycling. The more a resident recycles, the more points they get that can be redeemed for discounts at 32 local businesses. Points don’t expire or have a limit. Residents can sign up online at www.recyclingperks.com.
“Colonial Heights now has the second highest sign-up rate of all of our service areas for the
‘Recycling Perks’ program,” said Amelia Baker, TFC Marketing Project Manager. “In addition to individual savings/rewards to residents, 32 businesses in the City are program partners and have realized more than $18,000 in new business from locals redeeming those rewards.”