Curious How Boston's Recycling Program Works

Curious How Boston's Recycling Program WorksWBZ

For many of us, recycling is now part of our daily routine, but what happens after you put your recycling out on the curb for pickup?

Theresa in Roslindale Declared Her Curiosity.

“Does the City of Boston really recycle the items we put in the big blue containers? Where does it go? Someone prove to me that Boston really follows through with our efforts to recycle!”

WBZ’s David Wade went out in search of the answer.

A nasty, dirty, menacing mountain… of garbage?

Well, if you see Bob Cappadona, don’t call it trash. “I’d call it recycled material,” he said.

1.4 million pounds of “recycled material” come to Casselta Recycling in Charlestown every day. They take everything Boston residents dump in those new, 64 gallon recycling bins.

A labyrinth of automated machines sort through it – computers look for plastic, air jets blow the paper into bins and magnets pull aside the metal. Oh, and then there’s humans to catch the 10 percent that goes astray.

It all gets crushed into huge bails and sold off to mills that build new stuff.

So trash doesn’t go into landfills? Hardly. “The misconception is that (the trash) doesn’t go to a facility, it goes to a landfill. That’s a huge misconception,” said Cappadona.

Ever since the city of Boston started telling the residents they didn’t have to pick through their recyclables — that they could put it in one container, the numbers have gone way up, and that has meant a huge savings. “Since we switched over, recycling has gone through the roof,” said Cappadona. “Tonnage is up 30 percent and we’ve saved the taxpayers of Boston $1.8 million.”

You see, it is far cheaper to send the stuff to Casselta Recycling than to a landfill, and if everyone recycles, the city thinks it could save $10 million a year – a dream for the man who runs the program.

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