East Providence message to residents: Recycle properly, or you could face a fine

The city is hoping to raise awareness for the proper rules of recycling, and deter people from carelessly including items that shouldn’t be included.

By: Tim Studebaker

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island cities and towns pay nothing to drop off truckloads of recycling at the state’s central facility, if the truckloads meet recycling standards.  But, that doesn’t always happen.  There are some very clear rules to follow.  Sometimes people include items that they think can be recycled, but can’t be.  And, one of the biggest issues is recycling that has been placed in a plastic bag.

East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva says, “If you take a plastic bag, and you put recyclable material in it, and then you put that in your recycling bin, now you’ve contaminated the load”

If a truckload of recycling is rejected, not only could the entire load end up in the landfill, but the city that sent it is on the hook for landfill fees plus $250 per load.  East Providence is trying to cut down on the number of times that happens to them.  According to Rhode Island Resource Recovery, this problem is not unique to East Providence.

DaSilva says, “So you go through all this work and effort to recycle and do the right thing, and then because a few people didn’t take the time and effort to do the right thing, it ends up contaminating the whole pile.”

Those fees cost East Providence almost $30,000 of taxpayer money last year, up from $0 in 2016.  So from now on, if collection crews spot a problem, they will leave your recycling behind and place a notice on it.

DaSilva says, “We’ve done what we can to inform people, educate people, sending out information in their water bills, sending out information through the newspaper and everything else.  So, we hope that people get the point.”

Residents who continue to do it wrong could get a fine of $50.

DaSilva says, “This is not a revenue generator.  We’re looking at this as almost like a tool to make sure people follow the rules, simple as that.”

Recycling rules are the same for every Rhode Island city and town, and are available at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery website: https://www.rirrc.org/

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Categories: News, Rhode Island