Recycling rates climb, but Buffalo still lags behind rest of the country

Jun 11, 2018

The City of Buffalo is ramping up efforts to recycle waste.

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The rate of materials recycled has been increasing every year for the past three years. Despite the good news, at a rate just over 28%, Buffalo still lags behind the national average of 34%.

To reach that goal, Susan Attridge, Director of Refuse and Recycling, says the city is trying new ways of getting rid of waste.

“We expanded our yard waste program to six weeks in the fall and also have a drop-off program for our residents. And then we have community shredding events, household hazardous waste events. We really developed a pretty solid marketing campaign aimed at bringing us up to the national average of 34% recycling.”

The cost to the city of disposing waste is lessened when the more people are recycling. But not all waste can be picked up by waste management. Attridge says the city is continuing to find ways to improve its disposal of waste.

“Food waste can comprise up to 20% of what is in your garbage tote and we have worked really hard to get as much as we can through our curbside recycling program. Food waste, obviously we don’t have a curbside program, so the city is really focusing on developing a drop-off program for food waste.”

Massachusetts Avenue on Buffalo’s West Side is starting a food waste drop-off site. Other sites throughout the city are being discussed.

Andrew Goldstein is the Erie County Recycling Coordinator. He believes the City of Buffalo is on to something good with its recycling program and hopes to see the programs expand.

“The city is doing some great programs. Hopefully it will move into the suburbs, especially the food waste composting that the state is trying to encourage and other organizations are trying to rollout. This area has had very few facilities that can handle food waste in a large way so that’s just starting to change.”

Goldstein says Erie County is asking for a ban on plastic bags because they detrimental to recycling center machines.