Open Mike Show: Toters Could Push Up Recycling Rate

Haverhill City Councilor Colin F. LePage and Andy Vargas.

Single stream, curbside recycling has saved the city substantial sums of money during the last few years, but achieving higher recovery rates has proven elusive.

That was the message Haverhill City Councilor Colin F. LePage brought to WHAV’s Open Mike Show listeners Monday night. Over the past few years, to encourage higher rates of residential recycling, the city dropped from five to three barrels the number of containers of non-recyclable trash residents may dispose of each week. However, overall recycling rates have remained stubbornly low—frozen at about 18 percent during the last three years. The upcoming move to force residents to use a single 64-gallon toter is designed, in part, to force more households to move paper, glass, plastics and metals out of the trash stream, LePage said.

Because the commodities market is overwhelmed, Haverhill no longer receives any money from the sales of recovered materials, but it does avoid disposal costs—known as “tipping fees”—at the Covanta waste-to-energy plant in Ward Hill. Fees have varied between $53 and $60 per ton of trash, but will drop to $55 beginning July 1 as a result of a new agreement Mayor James J. Fiorentini negotiated with Covanta, LePage noted.

Meanwhile, Councilor Andy Vargas appeared on Open Mike to tout the benefits of an online financial tool that would be provided by He said the approximately $7,000 annual cost will pay for itself by giving elected officials are clearer accounting of the city’s spending. It will also help residents make comparisons between the city’s government and school costs with other communities. Fiorentini is said to be planning a meeting with representatives to evaluate the online service.

2 thoughts on “Open Mike Show: Toters Could Push Up Recycling Rate

  1. lets be clear here, jack bevelaqua brought recycling and huge $$ savings to Haverhill. bevelaqua’s reward was to be run out of state govt. because of a stroke. no good dead goes unpunished