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The Recycling Cycle New Methods, New Incentives

Recycling has become an entrenched part of solid waste management for communities everywhere, and condo managers report that, in general, unit owners have been steadily moving into compliance.

Often though, it’s difficult to find a tangible incentive to recycle, and many consumers resist participating when they believe it just means extra work. Attorney Richard Brooks, from the Braintree, Massachusetts-based law firm of Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, P.C., admits, “I couldn’t see the point… to spending time separating trash—but something ‘clicked’ about four years ago, and now I see how recycling can be a plus” in cutting trash volume and the cost of its removal but extracting the recycleables. “Now, we diligently put everything in the proper bins. In my town, you have to pay extra for pickup of a second container of trash.”

Brooks has negotiated on behalf of numerous condo associations to get their city or town departments of public works to pick up trash at condo properties—and treat unit owners like any other taxpayer. But it may mean re-educating residents, if their former private trash hauler had a different way of collecting—or not—recyclable materials. “For condo managers,” he continues, “they understand that they have to impose the town’s recycling regulations, when their municipality agrees to pick up the association’s trash and recycling is part of the deal.”

Because regulations vary considerably throughout New England, the incentives to participate in recycling programs vary as well. For many associations, the cost of trash removal is lower if recycling programs are successful, but compliance with recycling regulations really depends on the cooperation of everyone involved.

In the majority of New England states, counties and towns, regulations are in place that simply ban certain materials from the trash stream, and trash haulers and their customers are forced to find ways to recycle them.

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