Binghamton, NY Recycling Enhancement Program
Status: Announced on 12/09/08
Mayor Matt Ryan was joined by City officials and Binghamton youth to announce the details of the City’s Recycling Enhancement Program at a news conference this afternoon in front of Binghamton High School.
The program promotes recycling through a variety of means, including new recycling receptacles along the city’s main corridors, youth employment, and a youth-produced public service announcement. The effort required coordination by the Department of Public Works, the City Youth Bureau, and the Department of Planning, Housing & Community Development.
“The Recycling Enhancement Program promotes many aspects of our healthy neighborhoods approach, including neighborhood beautification, resource conservation, youth development, and cost-savings for our citizens,” said Mayor Ryan. “We ask for the community’s cooperation in our local recycling efforts.”
NEW RECYCLING RECEPTACLES
One part of the Recycling Enhancement Program involves placing more than 40 recycling receptacles along the Court/Main Street corridor, and in the surrounding areas. The Department of Public Works chose the locations with the greatest capacity to reduce litter and increase recycling.
The blue receptacles are made of vinyl-coated wire mesh and will be planted permanently on the sidewalk. On top of the receptacles is a decal showing the materials that can be disposed, which include paper, plastic, and glass.
The City will track and enhance each receptacle’s productivity using the GIS services that the City shares with the County. Click here for a GIS-generated receptacle map.
“By placing sturdy recycling receptacles in high traffic areas, we’re increasing the convenience of recycling in the City of Binghamton,” said Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Tom Costello. “We anticipate they will help make our streets cleaner, while reducing our tipping fees.”
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT & EDUCATION
As another component of the Recycling Enhancement Program, the City is employing Binghamton youth to promote recycling through educational outreach. Starting this month, nine “Youth Recycling Educators” will be going door-to-door to distribute brochures on recycling’s many benefits, and accept recycling bin requests from those who are without this important resource.
The Youth Recycling Educator program will continue throughout the current school year and include additional activities such as recycling bin distribution. The City Youth Bureau will coordinate the program, and youth participants are paid $7.15 hour for 10 hours per month.
“The Youth Recycling Educator program is another opportunity for our young people to develop leadership skills in the context of green practices, and it’s precisely that type of experience that will prepare them for a 21st Century economy,” said Youth Bureau Director Ana Shaello-Johnson. “I’m proud of the young people who’ve stepped up to take part in this program and promote our local quality of life, and I encourage others to participate as well.”
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT AND ADDITIONAL EDUCATION
To emphasize the value of recycling, the Recycling Enhancement Program also includes a youth produced public service announcement that will air on local television stations. The video/audio skills program Youth-In-Motion developed the announcement, which explains how recycling results in cost-savings, and will begin airing in the coming weeks.
“By recycling, we not only conserve resources and reduce waste, but we also save money,” said Sustainable Development Planner Amelia LoDolce. “With the City’s pay-as-you-throw garbage system, we pay for every ounce of material in our garbage bags. However, our recycling rate shows that much of what we put in the green bags is recyclable, and if we recycled just a small portion of that, we’d increase our savings. This is especially important during times like now, when budgets are tight. A crucial part of increasing our recycling rate is public education, and we anticipate our PSAs will help.”
The Recycling Enhancement Program is supported by the Neighborhood Beautification Fund, which Mayor Ryan included in the Community Development Block Grant in 2008 and 2009. All the recycling receptacles will be located in the CDBG target areas.
CITY RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR COMMUNITY GREENING
The Recycling Enhancement Program is a part of Mayor Ryan's continued commitment to sustainable practices, and Binghamton has received recognition as one of the nation's greenest cities in recent years. The City was ranked 9th in Country Home Magazine’s 2007 report “Best Green Cities in America.” The report rated 379 metropolitan areas across the nation on the basis of air and watershed quality, mass transit use, power use and number of organic producers and farmers' markets. In 2007, the National Arbor Day Foundation named Binghamton a Tree City USA in recognition of the City's ongoing community forestry program - including the Shade Tree Commission, which Mayor Ryan re-instated in 2007 after a 19 year hiatus.