Recycling is good for the environment, helps save money, it’s incredibly easy and it's the law. Dutchess County officials want locals to get that message loud and clear. YNN's John Wagner reports.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- "It’s a mindset. It's a behavior. It's a habit," said Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison.
Over the next ten years, Dutchess County aims to ingrain residents with a new respect and love for recycling. A solid waste management plan issued Tuesday will reduce waste, boost reuse and recycling, cutting down on the use of landfills.
"If we get the word out there and remind people the benefits, that's a quick and easy way to really increase our recycling rate," said Lindsay Carille, Division of Solid Waste Management Director.
All your paper, plastic and glass must stay separate from trash according to local and state laws around since the early 90s. Since then, recycling has gotten much easier, but it still hasn't caught on. To help locals rethink their waste, a compliance inspector starts at the end of the month.
Carille said, "Letting them know, hey you're supposed to be separating your recyclables, answering questions on how to do it if they have questions, what can be recycled. Before we bring the hammer down on enforcement, it's more of an education right now."
Between 1985 and 2010, the nationwide recycling rate jumped from a measly ten percent up to a modest 34 percent. Dutchess County's rate sits at 23 percent, around the state average, but over the next ten years, officials will attempt to make Dutchess a model for the nation by more than doubling the rate of recycling.
"I think we just got to make it easier. That's the key. People will do things when they're easy," said Rolison.
The county is creating a pilot program for recyclable yard and food waste and taking steps to promote recycling education in schools. As a result, they hope taxpayers save money on their trash...
"Rates really haven't gone up in a long time and that's because there's money to be made in recyclables and that helps offset the cost of transportation and disposal," Carille said.
The plan is open for public comment for the next 60 days.