Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gimmicks vs. Economics

Cities and towns have come up with the most ingenious ways to increase their rates of recycling. Framingham is a perfect example of this:

Framingham has started a new recycling program with monthly themes tied to environmentally friendly practices, a move that is apparently unique among area communities even as it reflects a trend of municipalities going green, say organizers.

The town started its program in June but had its first real event July 24, when the theme was recycling electronics. On Aug. 16, the town will host a "Shred Fest," whereby residents can take unwanted documents to the recycling center for shredding. Next month's theme is recycling at home, school, and work, with a focus on green purchasing, Framingham officials say.

"We're looking at trying to have an event that will create a buzz," said Mike Lavin, operations manager for the town's Solid Waste Division. "We want people to recycle more."

It sounds like a lot of fun, but there's a much easier way. Currently Framingham pays for it's trash collection program through taxes. As I have posted previously, a move to pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) would increase the rate of recycling without much effort from the city. It doesn't rely on people caring about Framingham pride or the environment, but their own self interest.

With PAYT, it pays to recycle.

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