|Western Mass. Program Recycled 31K Tons of Material|
|03:18PM / Wednesday, May 16, 2012|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Seventy-seven Western Massachusetts municipalities recycled more than 31,000 tons of plastic, paper, metals and glass during 2011, with the communities receiving more than $1.4 million in payments for the recyclables delivered.
The 15 participating Berkshire communities received more than $200,000 and recycled almost 4,500 tons. Pittsfield received about half that amount and also recycled almost half the total materials for the Berkshires.
The recyclables were processed at the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility, a public facility owned by the state Department of Environmental Protection and operated by Waste Management Recycle America.
"Diverting these materials minimizes the energy used for extraction of resources necessary to produce the plastic, metal and paper we use every day, and provides real environmental benefits to Massachusetts residents," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., whose office includes MassDEP.
Springfield MRF communities receive a flat payment of $15.67 per ton of recyclables delivered. In addition, they also receive a revenue share when the markets buying the recycled feedstock are good. Because of positive market conditions in 2011, Waste Management Recycle America paid the municipalities $1.4 million for the recyclables delivered last year. Also, the estimated 2011 avoided disposal cost savings for municipalities by recycling is approximately $2 million.
"The municipalities utilizing the Springfield MRF see firsthand the environmental and economic benefits of recycling," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "We encourage all Western Massachusetts residents to participate fully in their local recycling programs."
Once the sorted recyclable materials are sold to end markets, they are made into hardcover book board, game board, new metal cans, polyester fiber from plastic bottles, and even new recycling bins.
In 2011, residents were also allowed to recycle two new items: empty non-hazardous aerosol cans, and clear plastic clamshell packaging.
Empty aerosol cans that once contained health and beauty products, food products, air freshener, and laundry products can now be recycled in local programs. The MRF is also accepting clear plastic clamshell packaging – the hinged containers found in the produce, deli and bakery departments at local grocery stores.
MassDEP opened the MRF in 1989 to help reduce waste, divert material away from landfills and incinerators and encourage the re-use of recyclable materials. Since 1990, Western Massachusetts communities have processed nearly 2 billion pounds of recyclables through it. For more information on the Springfield MRF, turn here: http://springfieldmrf.org/index.php
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.