Walczak said the town’s switch to single stream recycling has made a big difference in its rates.
“It just makes it as simple as possible for our residents,” he said.
The town’s revenue from the sale of recyclables is zero, he said, but they have saved a good chunk of money by reducing waste.
“I’d say we save between $65,000 and $75,000 each year,” he said. “It’s something we’ve accomplished over time.”
Another town with a high recycling rate is Derry at 39 percent. Michael Fowler director of the Department of Public Works, used that number in his pleas for a new transfer station.
“We are managing that facility with one hand tied behind our backs,” Fowler said. “Much of the cost to build this station could be offset because of what we recycle.”
Construction on the new $3 million transfer station is scheduled to begin this fall..
Other towns’ recycling rates may not be as high, but they are still reporting increases.
Salem is below the state average at 20 percent, but DPW director Rick Russell said that’s still an improvement.
“It’s been going up the last couple years,” he said.
Russell said he didn’t know why Salem’s numbers were lower than other towns, but he believes they’re on the right track.
“We just have to make people realize the price people are paying when they don’t recycle,” he said. “It’s $56 more per ton to dispose of waste compared to recycling. That makes a difference on the tax rate.”
Russell credited the initiative taken by school Superintendent Michael Delahanty as a reason for the increase.
“He’s really encouraged recycling in the schools,” Russell said. “When the kids start wanting to do it, then the parents feel like they have to.”
Plaistow has seen its recycling rate go from as low as 12 percent to 20 percent.