MassDEP initiative seeks to improve curbside recycling stream

A new resource offered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is designed to help cities and towns across the commonwealth increase the quality of their residential recycling streams, according to a news release from that state agency.

The Recycling IQ Kit will help Massachusetts municipalities educate residents on how to recycle better, removing contaminants from the recycling stream and making recovered materials more attractive to global commodity markets. The program funding of $187,500 involves awards of $40,000 each to Dartmouth, Lowell, Lynn and New Bedford, $20,000 to Halifax and $7,500 to Chatham. Additional funding is available to more communities that sign up to implement the strategies included in the Recycling IQ Kit, MassDEP says.

The Recycling IQ Kit was created by MassDEP and The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, and has been tested in nearly a dozen Massachusetts communities. Municipalities can apply for funding ranging from $7,500 to $40,000 to implement the Recycling IQ Kit, which involves providing direct feedback to residents by leaving “oops” tags on recycling carts, letting them know what should and should not be recycled. The funding also pays for production of associated signs, mailers and banners and for staff to monitor recycling carts and distribute educational materials.

“The commonwealth is committed to sustainability and protection of our environment and, working collectively, we can continue to increase the economic value and environmental benefit of recycling in all of our communities,” says Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. “The Recycling IQ Kit is an innovative way to help cities and towns reach these important goals.”

“The Recycling IQ Kit is designed for communities to easily provide feedback and information so residents better understand what can go into the recycling cart,” Massachusetts Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito says.

The commonwealth says it encourages residents to recycle at home, work or school; however, items often are placed in recycling bins that can contaminate the valuable materials and add handling costs at local recycling facilities. The Recycling IQ Kit provides steps, tools and resources to “increase the quality,” or IQ, of the materials collected locally.

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton says, “The Recycling IQ Kit will help residents make good recycling decisions to reduce trash costs and create greater recycling value.”

MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg says, “With a robust recycling infrastructure in Massachusetts, it’s more important than ever to protect the investments made by local and state government and private industry and keep the supply chain of good, clean recyclables flowing to end users to make new products and packaging.”

The Recycling Partnership continues to expand in terms of funding partners


The Recycling Partnership, the Falls Church, Virginia-based nonprofit that leverages corporate investment to support recycling, has announced that Amazon, International Paper, Starbucks Coffee Co., ExxonMobil, Niagara Bottling and Unilever brand Love Beauty and Planet have joined as new funding partners. By supporting The Recycling Partnership, these brands, along with 34 other companies, are helping to create more circular economy jobs, more material recovery and stronger and more equitable communities, according to the nonprofit.

Love Beauty and Planet has set a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020. For each carbon ton of greenhouse gas emitted during the creation, manufacture and distribution of its current products, Love Beauty and Planet will contribute $40 to The Recycling Partnership. Additionally, the brand is donating 100 percent of the profits from its 2018 holiday gift sets to the organization.

Packaged in 100 percent recycled bottles, the vegan beauty brand says its mission is to make people and the planet a little more beautiful by infusing small acts of love throughout the entire product cycle while being transparent about its environmental footprint.

Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership, says, “We are empowered by the growing list of companies and communities that trust The Recycling Partnership to deliver swift, measurable change.” She continues, “They understand that collaboration is essential for building stronger solutions to environmental and community concerns, including recycling.”

The nonprofit says its goal is to double the current recycling rate in the United States, capturing 22 million more tons of recyclables per year, avoiding 50 million metric tons of greenhouse gas annually and saving $250 million in contamination costs annually.

“There is an equation for sustainable recycling success, and the partnership is making it happen,” Harrison says. “The more support we receive from leading companies and organizations, the more people we can impact. The more people we impact, the healthier our economy and planet will be in the future.”

Verde launches to help cities, haulers achieve recycling goals

Recycling Perks LLC has added new services and rebranded as Verde, which is Spanish for green. The Chesapeake, Virginia-based company continues to offer Recycling Perks, an incentive program to encourage participation in residential recycling programs. The additional services Verde offers will be similar to those Recycling Perks cities have been enjoying for years, but they will be available as a la carte options, the company says.

“In the last few years, more and more of our clients have been asking for help reducing contamination or creating targeted marketing campaigns,” says Sandra Hungate, vice president of Verde. “When our company started, our outreach was focused on simply getting the word out about the perks program, but in the past couple of years, we’ve been focusing more on educating residents about how to recycle right and how to keep their city clean. Not every city or hauler needs a recycling incentive or reward program.

Verde’s programs enable cities and haulers to integrate specific, targeted, customizable services that can enhance, or even replace, current programs, ensuring that their unique needs are met, the company says.“Verde will be able to help cities and haulers alike who may only need help with outreach, data analysis, mapping or media/event planning. We’ve already been doing this, but with our new company portfolio, we’ll be able to offer cities and haulers just what they need,” she adds.

“With many cities and haulers feeling the pinch of reduced revenues from recycling, increases in the cost of disposal and other factors that affect the bottom line, they need an alternative to the often expensive, but much needed, services,” says Bill Dempsey, president of Verde. “Verde strives to create a relationship with each of its clients that is both strategically designed for success and cost-effective.”

Recycling Perks will continue to be available as a complete, turnkey option for cities and haulers that are seeking an incentive-based program that encourages residents to shop locally, educates them about recycling best practices and rewards them for their recycling efforts, Verde says. 

*This item was edited June 7 to remove a reference to TFC Recycling, which was wrongly stated as the company launching Verde. While Recycling Perks launched in 2011 in partnership with TFC Recycling, the companies are no longer affiliated, though TFC does still offer its customers the Recycling Perks service.