Going green has been a way of life in Palm Coast.
It is the first city in Florida to offer doorstep hazardous waste pickup, and thanks to the city’s recycling rewards program, more residents are jumping on the environmental bandwagon.
Last year, the City Council reached a new agreement with Waste Pro for its waste-hauling services. Included in the new contract was a recycling rewards program that would allow residents to receive various rewards for recycling more and throwing away less. Awards included gift cards, coupons and electronic devices.
So far, the program has worked. And the proof is in the green bins.
The program went into effect June 1, 2012. Prior to that, the city had never collected more than 400 tons of recycling in a month since it began collecting recycling with Waste Pro about six years ago, said Dianne Torino, contracts and risk manager for the city.
That changed in June, when the city collected about 417 tons of recycling.
In the final six months of 2012, the city collected more than 400 tons every month except July and September.
“The program has sparked a lot of interest with the residents, and I’m amazed,” Torino said. “I’m really pleased with the amount of recycling we are picking up and the increase of participation by the residents.”
In December, one Palm Coast resident won an iPad for participating in the rewards program. The city will have giveaways each quarter. For the first giveaway, five residents received $100 gift cards.
The next giveaway will be in February or March, Torino said.
Another reason the recycling participation has increased, Torino said, is because of the single-stream recycling process which no longer requires residents to sort items. Instead, it’s all collected in one batch.
“We have always been of the belief that you have to make something as easy as possible if you want people to voluntarily do it,” Torino said.
Also, because recycling has increased, garbage collection has decreased, according to numbers provided by the city.
In 2012, more than 2,000 tons of solid waste was collected seven of the first eight months.
However, fewer than 2,000 tons were collected in September, October and December.
Another aspect of the new contract is the hazardous waste pickup program. Palm Coast is the only city in Florida to offer such a thing, said City Councilman Jason DeLorenzo. (A county on the west coast offers it, but no cities currently do.)
“Combined with our change this year to compressed natural gas trucks, it shows we are a forward-thinking city with a commitment to the environment,” DeLorenzo said.
Doorstep hazardous waste is picked up on Saturdays. Residents must call Waste Pro at 586-0800 to schedule a pickup.
Residents are asked to leave the items at their front door or garage door, not at the curb.
Hazardous items include batteries, paint, insecticides, herbicides and used motor oil.
Email [email protected].
IN THE BIN
The following shows the tonnage of recycling per month for 2012. The recycling rewards program was implemented June 1.
Source: city of Palm Coast