Rhode Island was the first state to pass a mandatory recycling law, in 1986. Participation rates, however, have rarely matched the notion of the state as a recycling leader.
In a few weeks that may begin to change when the R.I. Resource Recovery Corp. rolls out a new program expected to boost recycling statewide.
A new materials-recycling facility completed in April at the Johnston landfill will allow more plastics to be recycled. And residents and businesses no longer will have to separate paper, plastic, aluminum and other recyclables, saving time and, landfill operators hope, increasing participation.
Resource Recovery has estimated that elimination of sorting should boost recycling by 15-20 percent. That’s good news for the corporation, which sells recyclables on the commodities market, local communities that share in the profits and, of course, the environment.
And the state may finally become the leader its early-adopter status portended. •