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City of Bridgeport recycling increases by 67 percent

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said that the Connecticut city has increased its recycling participation rate by 67 percent as compared to the previous 2 year period. The increase follows the city’s switch to single-stream recycling and the expansion of the Recyclebank® rewards program citywide. Bridgeport has dramatically increased its recycling participation rate since it launched the enhanced recycling program in September 2011.

Bridgeport’s BGreen2020 initiative was introduced in 2008 by Finch to create jobs, save residents money and to reduce Bridgeport’s carbon footprint. BGreen efforts to increase recycling included the introduction of single stream recycling and the distribution of 64 gallon rollout carts to Bridgeport households. Since these 2 advancements in recycling efforts, Bridgeport has increased recycling rates by more than 67 percent, avoiding approximately $130,000 per year in tip fees. The city has also earned more than $100,000 in new revenue from its participation in Southwest Connecticut Regional Recycling Operating Committee, the regional multi-town group that encourages regional cooperation on recycling. Additionally, in August 2012, the City Public Facilities Department took over responsibility for refuse and recycling service to Bridgeport public schools, canceling the Education Department’s contract with private haulers, and saving more than $160,000 per year. In total, city officials estimate that these efforts have saved Bridgeport nearly $400,000.

Additionally, in 2009, Finch launched the Mayor’s Conservation Corps, a group of young adults who go door-to-door in the City talking about conservation efforts. The group is instrumental in helping educate the residents of Bridgeport on how to live greener lifestyles and helps sign up residents to join Recyclebank. Bridgeport’s community activism and recycling innovations, along with Recyclebank’s rewards-for-recycling program, have pushed the City’s environmental success to higher levels than those typically achievable with just a switch to a single-stream recycling program.

Compared to data from several other cities that made the switch from dual-stream recycling to single-stream recycling, Bridgeport has achieved a more substantial lift.

The Recyclebank rewards-for-recycling program also benefits the local economy. Bridgeport residents have saved nearly $47,000 through rewards earned from recycling and put $89,000 back into the local economy by redeeming rewards at locally-based businesses.