On Saturday the Worcester Telegram ran an article titled “Southbridge landfill foes say delay in environmental master plan is costly - Landfill seen as victim of delay” by Brian Lee.
The article focused primarily on dissatisfaction by local and state environmental activists with the state’s management of solid waste planning.
More interesting to me, though, were the concluding remarks in the article.
“[Southbridge] Town Manager Christopher Clark said zero waste, while admirable, is not realistic.
“Mr. Clark said the town should conceivably be used as a model to increase recycling.
“Southbridge increased recycling from 16 percent in recent years to more than 42 percent in recent weeks by aggressively enforcing a decades-old trash regulation requiring people to use trash bags placed in tightly-closed barrels, and to recycle. The town ticketed people up to $250 for violating the rule.
“‘Hopefully at some point in time we can get (recycling rate) numbers higher,’ Mr. Clark said. ‘It's an incremental process.’”
According to the Southbridge town website the town’s recycling rate in April 2012 was 23.75% and 23.41% in May. The corresponding months in 2011 were at 17.62% and 17.42% respectively.
In other words, the “incremental process” took a year to gain 6 percentage points. However, we’re supposed to believe it when Mr. Clark tells us that suddenly recycling rates increased by almost 20 percentage points in less than a month?
I hope that at least one of our newly elected councilors will take a serious look at the legitimacy of these numbers.