Rhode Island Launches Statewide Recycling Program

Governor, local officials cut ribbon on new MRF.

June 12, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Municipal / IC&I

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC), based in Johnston, R.I., has officially launched Recycle Together RI, a new statewide recycling program that RIRRC says will make it easier for state residents to recycle.

At the dedication, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, RIRRC officials and local officials cut the ribbon on RIRRC’s new $16.9 million material recovery facility (MRF).
“This is an incredible example of the effort we can make as a state to become more environmentally responsible,” Chafee says. “Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to incorporate this recycling process statewide. We currently possess the most technologically advanced recycling system in the Northeast. I look forward to the positive effect the Recycle Together RI program will have on our residents, our communities and our state.”
According to RIRRC, the Recycle Together RI program incorporates two significant changes designed to boost recycling levels. First, residents will be able to recycle all 2-gallon or smaller plastic containers. Second, recyclables will be commingled.
Mike O’Connell, RIRRC executive director, says, “Recycle Together RI is the culmination of four years of innovation and hard work by our staff, our vendor and our elected officials. This new recycling program will make recycling easier for all of our state’s residents, resulting in a number of positive changes. We are proud to bring this program to Rhode Island.”
The MRF took seven months to install and was constructed while the RIRRC’s existing MRF continued to operate. O’Connell attributes the smooth transition to RIRRC’s staff and to Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, RIRRC’s contractor for the new MRF.
Van Dyk, based in Stamford, Conn., installed a Bollegraaf baler recycling system, which allows RIRRC to process 50 tons per hour of recyclables.
“The two key pieces of the program—the ability to mix all your recyclables together and the ability to recycle so many plastics—make recycling easier for Rhode Islanders,” says Sarah Kite, director of Recycling Services for RIRRC. “Since Recycle Together RI makes recycling easier, we are optimistic that the state’s residents will embrace the new program.
“Additionally, Recycle Together RI provides a great vehicle for re-educating the state about proper recycling techniques,” Kite continues. “There have been a number of changes and new tips communicated over the years, and now all those changes are under one program.”