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Letter to the Editor: Recycling Can Save City Money

Written by Debra Maddox, Haverhill, Mass., resident in The Eagle Tribune
Published: January 18, 2009

A local resident writes her newspaper to encourage Haverhill's mayor and city council to bring Recyclebank to the Massachusetts town

To the editor:

I am writing to encourage Haverhill's mayor and City Council to bring Recyclebank to the city to implement a single-stream recycling program.

Haverhill is the only community in Massachusetts that picks up recycled paper curbside but does not pick up other recyclable materials (plastic, glass, aluminum, etc). If recycling was more convenient for residents, how many pounds of potentially recyclable trash could produce money for the city coffers instead of ending up in the exhaust from Covanta's smokestack?

Recycling is typically the focus of affluent towns like Cambridge and Andover, but recycling has also been successful in blue collar, hard-working communities. For example, Everett was able to increase its recycling rate and generate income for city services because of Recyclebank — which rewards households with coupons for each pound of trash recycled. Recyclebank offers a six-month pilot program, at no cost to the city, which Stoneham recently adopted; this allows a city to know with certainty whether recycling will work citywide.

A Recyclebank pilot program in Haverhill carries zero risk to the city.

One of the challenges of the 21st century will be for communities to manage their waste in an environmentally responsible way. If our current group of elected officials cannot lead us in that direction, perhaps we should elect new leaders in November who will.

Debra Maddox

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