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Cohoes Rolling Out Expanded Recycling Program with New 65 Gallon Carts and Year-Long Outreach and Education Program

First City in New York State to be Awarded a Grant from The Recycling Partnership To Help Launch a Recycling Cart Program

Cohoes, NY (October 27, 2021) – Cohoes is rolling out a comprehensive new recycling program with the distribution of 4,500 recycling carts in early November and a year-long “how to” recycle education campaign.

Developed in collaboration with and including financial support from The Recycling Partnership, and with a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the new #CohoesRecycles program is part of the city’s comprehensive “Cleaner Greener Cohoes” initiative launched by Mayor Bill Keeler in 2020. It builds on the city’s Climate Smart Communities record of achievements.

“Successfully expanding recycling in Cohoes is a team effort. Residents across the city have already responded enthusiastically to the news they will be getting a new cart. Staff across city departments are pitching in to create a robust program, with enthusiastic expert guidance from The Recycling Partnership. None of this would be financially feasible for a working-class community like Cohoes without essential funding and guidance from The Recycling Partnership, and the initial DEC cart grant required to help us launch this effort,” Mayor Keeler said.

The new 65-gallon lidded recycling carts on wheels, replacing the small 14-gallon open bins, will be delivered to households across the city with an information packet on what does and does not get recycled, along with a list of frequently asked questions, to help residents expand their weekly recycling. “How to” recycling information also is available on the city’s website.

“Those small blue bins are just not big enough for the job,” said Cohoes Department of Public Works Commissioner Steve Hennessey. “We are confident that residents will recycle a lot more once they get these big new carts. They won’t have to worry about overflowing bins anymore. With the wheels, these carts are easy for residents to move around and easier for our DPW crews to empty. And, with the lids the recyclables stay dry and contained rather than the overflow blowing all over and littering yards, streets, and alleyways. These carts are going to help solve a lot of problems.”

The city is asking residents to do their part by placing items accepted for recycling in their carts, including glass bottles and jars, aluminum and steel cans, food and beverage cartons, paper products (including newspapers and flattened cardboard), and empty plastic bottles and containers. To limit trash in the recycling, residents will be reminded to rinse food and drink containers before putting them in the lidded carts.

“We are working to make it easier for Cohoes residents to properly recycle materials because it is good for the environment, it will help beautify the city, and it will save taxpayers money,” said Cohoes City Planner Joe Seman- Graves, noting that, as a result of renegotiating contracts in 2020, the city now pays $25 per ton for recyclables and $60 to $70 per ton for trash. “Our ‘know-where-to-throw’ education campaign will be an important part of this project because the more recyclables people put into their carts rather than into the trash the better off we all will be.”

And what about those blue bins? What do residents do with them? “Once residents get their new recycling carts, they can reuse their blue bin for a different purpose, or drop it into their new cart to be recycled, but they cannot refill it with recyclables for curbside pick-up. It is carts-only starting in November,” said Kathleen LaBombard, who is coordinating the outreach and education program.

Each recycling cart will be assigned to an address and can be identified using an identification (RFID) tag. If a cart is lost or stolen, residents should contact the Department of Public Works (518-233-2139) for help in locating or replacing the missing cart.

Cohoes a First in New York State for The Recycling Partnership

The comprehensive Cohoes recycling initiative has been developed in collaboration with The Recycling Partnership, the action agent transforming the U.S. residential recycling system for good. Cohoes is the first city in New York State to be awarded a grant from The Recycling Partnership to support curbside recycling. The award to Cohoes includes up to $125,000 in in-kind technical support, a $63,000 grant to help fund the purchase of a new collection truck, and $9,000 to fund outreach and education materials.

“We are thrilled Cohoes is the first city in New York State to benefit from our curbside recycling granting initiatives, becoming a model for other communities seeking to make it as easy to recycle as it is to throw something away,” said Chris Coady, Director of Community Programs at The Recycling Partnership. “The transition to a cart-based curbside recycling program will make the City’s program more efficient, resilient, and sustainable, capturing 2.2 million pounds of valuable recyclables, which will be transformed into new products and packaging, supporting local jobs and creating a valuable supply of materials for producers and manufacturers.”

New York State Grant Helps Fund Purchase of New Recycling Carts

Purchase of the 4,500 new carts being distributed to Cohoes residents in November, at a cost of $260,000, is being funded, in part, by a $130,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Division of Materials Management, Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s Municipal Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Capital Projects grant program, funded via the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is proud to partner with the city of Cohoes and congratulates Mayor Keeler on this new recycling program, created to streamline the recycling process, reduce waste headed to landfills, and better educate local residents about the importance of properly discarding solid waste items. All New Yorkers can do their part to reduce waste and improve recycling, and this new effort by Cohoes supports DEC’s ongoing work to connect communities with the tools they need to develop best practices for outreach and education to move materials from the waste stream into viable commodities for manufacturing.”

Common Council Approves Purchase of Recycling Carts, Receipt of Grants & Purchase of New Collection Truck

In September the Common Council voted to approve purchase of the 4,500 new recycling carts from North Carolina- based manufacturer Toter, selected via a bid process. The company is scheduled to assemble and distribute the carts starting the week of November 8th.

On Tuesday, October 26th the Common Council voted to approve a request from the Mayor to purchase a new collection vehicle and to receive The Recycling Partnership grant to help fund implementation of the expanded recycling program including to offset the $254,000 vehicle cost. A 15-year old multi-purpose DPW collection truck, used primarily for recycling pick-up, recently went out of service and is not repairable. The City is pursuing additional grant funding to help off-set the cost of the new collection truck, and also applying to the DEC for grant funding for a second collection truck in anticipation of the need to replenish the city’s aging fleet.