Big Green Can Improves Providence's Recycling Rate Nearly 42 Percent
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Big Green Can Improves Providence's Recycling Rate Nearly 42 Percent

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two-thirds of City residents have new gray trash barrel.

Six weeks after the City Hall launch, the "Big Green Can Just Got Greener" campaign has already boosted Providence's citywide recycling rate by nearly 42 percent. Before the Big Green Can campaign launched in late September, the City recycling rate stood below 15 percent. Since the program launched and with two-thirds of the city eligible to participate in the new program, the recycling rate has increased to 20.6 percent - an overall improvement of nearly 40 percent.

"I am very pleased by the progress we have seen with our recycling rate. The commitment of Providence's residents to recycle more will help us build a more sustainable city. It will also save us money," said Mayor Angel Taveras. "I am confident that we can build on this success as the Big Green Can program continues to roll out."

To date, residents who have their trash and recycling collected on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have received the new gray trash barrels and are required to use the 95-gallon green can for recycling. The recycling rate for Wednesday pickup - the first section of the city to join the new program - has increased by 133 percent. The week before the campaign launched, Wednesday's recycling rate was 10.5 percent. Last week, residents in the Wednesday region recorded a 24.4 percent recycling rate.

"With the Big Green Can, recycling in Providence has never been easier, and residents are using it to increase the city's recycling rate and save tax dollars," said Sheila Dormody, director of Providence's Sustainability Office. "Providence residents have answered Mayor Taveras' challenge to make a personal commitment to recycling. We will continue to take advantage of the new Recycle Together program and improve our recycling rate."

Tuesday residents have boosted their recycling rate from 15.8 percent during the last week of September to 22.8 percent, an increase of nearly 45 percent. Monday residents went from 26.9 percent during the last week of September to 34.6 percent, an increase of nearly 30 percent.

For every ton of recyclables residents put into their new Green Cans, the city saves $32. Last year, the City of Providence recycled almost 10,000 tons of material, a savings of $320,000. Bringing the city's recycling rate to 25 percent next year would save Providence an additional $250,000.

On October 1, Waste Management and the Department of Public Works began the distribution of new, 65-gallon gray trash barrels to residents across the city. As soon as a gray can is delivered to a household, its large, 95-gallon Big Green Can currently used for trash will be used for recycling.

The campaign builds on the statewide Recycle Together effort that allows residents to recycle more materials and combine all recyclables into one container. Waste Management and DPW began distribution of new trash carts to Thursday residents this week and are on pace to finish the citywide distribution before the end of the year.

As the new cans are delivered, crews are also replacing the lids on the Big Green Can with a new blue lid. The blue lid has instructions and information about the recycling program. Residents are urged to bring all of their Big Green Cans to the curb on collection day until the lids are replaced. It may take up to four weeks for crews to replace the lids. However, residents should not wait for the new lid to use the Big Green Can for recycling.

For more information about the Big Green Can Just Got Greener campaign, visit

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