To combat recycling stream contamination, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) developed the Recycling IQ Kit. The Kit provides cities and towns with steps, tools, and resources to Improve the Quality of local recycling programs. The Kit includes:
- Guidance for engaging with materials recycling facilities (MRF) and haulers;
- Instructions and tools for targeting messages;
- Tools for tracking and reporting results;
- Customizable artwork for education and outreach; and
- Resources for direct feedback at curbside or drop-off.
The Recycling IQ Kit is open source and available for any city or town in the state. MassDEP also offers grants for up to $40K to help Massachusetts communities implement the Recycling IQ program, which involves providing direct feedback to residents by leaving “oops” tags on recycling carts letting them know what should and should not be recycled. The funding also pays for production of signage, development of mailers and banners, and staff time to monitor recycling carts and distribute educational materials.
How was the Project Started?
The project started in 2015 when MassDEP awarded The Recycling Partnership a waste reduction grant to help develop a hands-on intervention and enforcement program to clean up the recycling stream. The program was piloted and tested in nearly a dozen Massachusetts communities in 2016 and 2017.
When was the Project Started?
The program was piloted in 2016, and was officially announced in March 2017.
When was the Project Completed, or is it Ongoing?
This project is ongoing
What are the Results to Date?
Ten Massachusetts communities have implemented the Kit to date. Results are measured by the percentage of households that are tagged for problem materials over time. The tagging rate decreased 72% in the City of Lynn, 48% in Newburyport, and 45% in Dartmouth, from start to finish. Therefore, residents responded to the direct feedback and improved their recycling practices. This year, MassDEP awarded 16 Massachusetts communities grants up to $40K to implement the Recycling IQ Kit program in the Summer/Fall 2018.
What are the Resources Needed, including Time, Cost, Etc.?
The Recycling IQ Kit is available for any community to use. The artwork is customizable and available to download on the MassDEP website. The agency also offers a grant program for Massachusetts municipalities interested in recieving technical and financial support to implement the fullKit program; Municiaplities can apply for funding of $7,500 to $40,000, depending on the size of the community. MassDEP has two full-time staff managing the grant and 8 regional coordinators who provide up to 40 hours of technical assistance to municipalities in their region that are awarded the grant. There are currently 16 municipalities who are implementing the Kit program in Massachusetts. MassDEP has awarded over $450,000 in CY2018 towards this program.
- Greg Cooper
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Division Director- BAW Business Compliance and Recycling