The average recycling rate in the state of Massachusetts remained largely unchanged between 1997 and 2008 according to data from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) as reported in the Boston Globe. From 1997 to 2008, the residential recycling rate in Massachusetts hovered between 27 and 28 percent. In the city of Boston, the rate ticked up slightly from 11 percent to 13 percent during the same period.
The news comes as a disappointment in light of the intense national focus on recycling and skyrocketing recycling rates in other parts of the country. According to the Globe, communities in the state are looking at pay-as-you-throw, single-stream, and continued education campaigns as ways to motivate residents to recycle.
The paper cites Boston's recent implementation of single-stream recycling after a pilot program yielded a 50 percent increase in recycling and potential annual savings of approximately $1 million. Making recycling more accessible for multi-family dwellings is identified as another key to getting residents to participate.
Others are calling for a comprehensive zero-waste plan modeled on those put in place by recycling overachievers like San Francisco (72 percent).