Investigative Post: City recycling rate lags well below national average

Nov 2, 2012

The City of Buffalo's recycling rate is well below the national average, according to Investigative Post.  Reporter Dan Telvock, who conducted the research, tells WBFO's Eileen Buckley City Hall has failed to educate the public and enforce recycling laws.

City's green recycle totes
Credit WBFO News file

Telvock says the city's recycling rate checks in at just 12% to 16%.  The National average is 34%.  Telvock's investigation revealed that many citizens have no idea recycling is mandated.

Telvock says San Franciso operates an expensive recycling program with enforcement that includes ticketing citizens who fail to recycle proper items that are tossed in their trash. 

You may recall our WBFO story early last spring--when the City rolled out large green recycling totes for residents.   

That increased curbside recycling to about 16% over the summer, but there has been a  drop since then.

City Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak told Telvock he expected the rate to double. It was only at 8% before the green recycle totes rolled out onto the streets.  But Buffalo Schools never received the totoes, nor do the schools recycle all they items they should.  Telvock reports totes will now be heading to the schools.

The city also failed to replace its full-time recycling coordinator who left in 2009. But the city posted the job after Investigative Post inquired on this story.   The city is missing out on reduced landfill fees and rebates.  Telvock says it is costing Buffalo taxpayers more than $1 million in potential savings.