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Bristol Township looks to bolster residents' recycling through new campaign

June 7, 2017

Bristol Township looks to bolster residents' recycling through new campaign | 5b9d1c16-1dd9-11e6-bec6-77fd59278c25

Source: Thomas Friestad, Bucks County Courier Times

Bristol Township officials are encouraging residents to think outside the box about what they toss in their recycling bins.

It might not occur to some people to recycle certain items, such as shampoo bottles, wrote Deputy Township Manager Scott Swichar in a news release Friday about the township's "It All Fits" campaign.

Under this initiative, officials will mail a postcard and a fridge magnet to about 16,500 residential customers, explaining how to properly divide their discards among the recycling, trash and yard waste bins.

If residents sort trash properly into the different receptacles, Swichar wrote, it should all fit neatly instead of spilling over — hence the campaign's name.

The mailing also will remind residents that there's no limit to how much can be recycled each week, though the township limits residents to one trash can a week.

In a phone call, Swichar added that the initiative also is designed to deter residents from recycling non-recyclable items. Plastic grocery bags are a prime example of non-recyclable items because they can wrap around recycling machinery and "jam up the assembly line process," he said.

"We don't have the capacity to recycle those, so we'd ask residents to throw (the plastic bags) away as trash or drop them off at grocery stores (with bag-recycling programs)," he said.

This first wave of postcards and magnets cost the township about $9,550 from a $117,000 recycling grant it received from the state Department of Environmental Protection about two years ago, according to Swichar, who said officials ordered $5,000 worth of additional materials for recycling programs in the schools.

Officials likely will mail the postcards and magnets next week, said Swichar, and they'll supplement them with additional direct mail, emails and social media posts.

"It All Fits" is the second phase of a Recycling Technical Assistance Project on which the township has been collaborating with waste consulting firm MSW Consultants since fall 2016.

Swichar said the campaign complements what he described as the "tremendous strides" the township has made over the last few years, including an automated trash and recycling program and a Get Caught Recycling campaign that each month gives a $50 Visa card to two residents who recycle. Those programs have been largely responsible for the 72-percent increase in residential recycling rates since then, he said.