State eyes city throw-a-ways

City of Fort Wayne Seal

News release from the City of Fort Wayne, sent Tuesday:

State Eyes City Throw-A-Ways
IACT Officials Want Other Cities To Recycle Fort Wayne’s “Ways”

(September 20, 2011) – The inarguable success of Fort Wayne’s single stream recycling program is receiving statewide attention. Today officials with the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) visited Fort Wayne to announce that the City has won the Community Achievement Award. The prestigious award recognizes Fort Wayne’s achievement in efficiencies by reducing costs and generating revenues, while at the same time doubling community participation and reducing rates.

“I’m proud that we were able to reduce fees by more than one million dollars. Our residents have committed to participating and they deserve that rate reduction,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “It’s been an amazing nine months as we’ve gone from 34% participation to nearly 70% participation.”

“We are excited to award the City of Fort Wayne an IACT Community Achievement Award for the single stream recycling program. Our panel of judges was incredibly impressed by the potential for other communities to replicate the program and the advantages it is already bringing to the citizens of Fort Wayne,” said Matt Greller, IACT Executive Director.

In early 2010, Mayor Henry created the Solid Waste Task Force. The group which included citizens representing neighborhood quadrants studied Fort Wayne’s garbage and recycling processes for seven months before making a recommendation. During that time, the task force met with residents, took input from online surveys and researched various options to improve the Fort Wayne recycling system.

“Programs like the City of Fort Wayne’s single stream recycling, are exactly the kinds of initiatives that the IACT Annual Awards are designed to highlight. The program achieved greater efficiencies, cost savings, revenue generation and rate reduction and gives communities around the state a best practice to review,” said Jennifer Simmons, IACT Deputy Director.

The overwhelming success of Fort Wayne’s new garbage and recycling contract included a revenue sharing process for the first time in the City’s history. The first year of the program is expected to generate more than $500,000. The new contract also reduced expenses which allowed the City to reduce fees to residents two times in less than a year. Combined – the fee reduction was well over one million dollars. Further savings allowed the City to pay off $1.6 million in Solid Waste Department debt.

“Resident participation has been a key to the success of our program. It’s fitting that the award recognizes community achievement, because this program has displayed that our community can achieve great things,” said Mayor Henry.

IACT announced the award today to promote its upcoming annual conference October 9-11 in Indianapolis. The City will receive the award at a luncheon on October 10, 2011.

The City delivered over 54,000 carts since the beginning the program in January 2011. During the first nine months the average tonnage of recycled product grew by more than 300 tons a month compared to last year. Residents still interested in participating in the recycling program can sign up by calling 311.

 

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