Congratulations Reading! On Tuesday, November 13th, the Town of Reading was awarded the MassRecycle Municipal Recycling Award for its Rubbish and Recycling program. Each year, MassRecycle, a statewide nonprofit, recognizes a community for its innovation and leadership in areas that focus on increased recycling and waste reduction.
Reading’s program, rolled out in October 2010, was successful due to a combined effort by town residents, the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager, the Department of Public Works, Reading Climate Committee, Reading School Department, and JRM (our vendor). It has enabled the Town to meet its goals of reducing trash, increasing recycling, and improving customer service. The new program has saved thousands of dollars for Reading residents by eliminating fees for bulk items, and reducing them for TV and CRT disposal. It has created additional recycling opportunities and a greater awareness of the benefits of recycling for both the community and the environment.
In the first year of the program, the Town saved over $92K in disposal cost avoidance, reduced its contract fees nearly 10%, and increased recycling by 40%. Importantly, Reading has been able to share the successes of our program with other municipalities, who have benefited from similar savings in reduced disposal, increased recycling, and improved customer service by following our lead. And as more than one resident has expressed “We love our rubbish and recycling program!”
Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner credited residents of the community, the Board of Selectmen, and Town staff - particularly DPW Director Jeff Zager, DPW Business Manager Jane Kinsella, DPW Administrative Assistant Michael O’Halloran, and DPW Highway Supervisor Mike DeBrigard - for the success of the program. He also noted that JRM, the Town’s rubbish hauler and recycler was a vital partner in the success of the program. “It’s not often in municipal service that you have the ability to partner with the community and a contractor to deliver an enhanced level of excellent quality service at a lower cost, while meeting strong environmental and community objectives. Rolling out the program was a challenge but we all stuck with it and have a great result.”