10-Week Program to Improve Recycling Efforts
The Lawrence DPW is launching the first year of a program called the “Recycling IQ Kit” that will run for 10 weeks from July through September. The goal of the program is to “Increase” the “Quality” of the recycling collected at the curbside by raising the “Recycling IQ” of the residents using the curbside trash and recycling program. “Improving the quality of life for our community has remained a top priority for my administration,” said Mayor Dan Rivera. “Coupled with our Clean Lawrence Initiative, where we have 90 day workers cleaning up our streets and parks, the Recycling IQ program will help alleviate overflow trash that often ends up in our city streets. It will make an impact that will start from house to house, and ultimately make our community cleaner.”
The Recycling IQ Kit program is funded through a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Last year the Department of Public Works (DPW) ran a pilot of the program in 3 neighborhoods over 10 weeks, reaching more than 1,000 households. The Recycling IQ Kit combines a campaign of public education and direct feedback at the curbside. Included in the education efforts are a direct mail piece to all residents, newspaper ads, radio ads, social media ads, as well as messaging on banners, yard signs and sandwich boards that are now going up around the City. A team of summer workers have been hired and they will work from July through September to implement the curbside feedback program that will target an additional 2,000 households on every recycling collection route in the City this year.
Lorena Salazar, Lawrence’s Recycling Coordinator, explained the program: “As part of the Recycling IQ Kit program, we will be lifting the lids of well over 2,000 recycling containers on a daily basis. If we find a large amount of plastic bags, trash, food or other things that don’t belong in the recycling cart, we will be tagging those carts with an “Oops Tag” which will signal to E.L Harvey to not pick up the bins. Residents whose carts get tagged will need to clean up the cart by getting rid of the offending material and then putting it out properly on their next recycling pick up day. We will be checking those same carts 10 times this summer, allowing enough time for the behavior modification of recycling right to take effect”. In addition, this year we will be spot checking carts throughout the City and running more in depth checks on the routes we worked last year during the pilot, as part of a reinforcement effort, and to collect data on which areas have higher levels of contamination”.