Massachusetts Looks to Improve Its Recycling IQ

By ecoRI News staff

To help cities and towns throughout Massachusetts increase the quality of their residential recycling stream, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is offering municipalities an IQ test kit.

The Recycling IQ Kit is designed to help municipalities educate residents on how to better recycle, to remove contaminants from the recycling stream and make those materials more attractive to the world’s commodity markets.

The program funding of $187,500 involves awards of $40,000 each to Dartmouth, New Bedford, Lowell and Lynn, $20,000 to Halifax, and $7,500 to Chatham.

Items are often placed in recycling bins that can contaminate the valuable materials and add handling costs at recycling facilities. The Recycling IQ Kit provides steps, tools and resources to “increase the quality” (IQ) of the materials collected locally.

“Massachusetts residents are eager to recycle, but at times, recycling can be confusing and putting unwanted items in a recycling container can increase costs,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said. “The Recycling IQ Kit will help residents make good recycling decisions to reduce trash costs and create greater recycling value.”

The recycling kit was created by MassDEP and The Recycling Partnership, and it has been tested in nearly a dozen Massachusetts communities, according to state officials. Municipalities can apply for funding of $7,500 to $40,000 to implement the program, which involves providing direct feedback to residents by leaving “oops” tags on recycling bins letting them know what should and should not be recycled. The funding also pays for production of signage, mailers and banners and for staff to monitor recycling carts and distribute educational materials.