When the Plymouth Township public works department accepted its fourth straight "Pennsylvania Waste Watcher" award at Monday night's council meeting, it marked the recognition of Plymouth's transition to a county and state leader in recycling.
Chris Kaasman, recycling coordinator for Montgomery County, was on hand to present the award, given annually to about 80 municipalities, counties, private businesses, and organizations that go "above and beyond" state recycling goals.
"These awards are given to recycling, waste reduction, reuse, and composting programs throughout Pennsylvania that have exhibited exemplary performance," Kaasman said. "Plymouth joins Abington, Douglass Township, Upper Merion, Red Hill Borough, and Globus Medical Incorporated as the only Waste Watcher Award winners from Montgomery County."
Chris Loschaivo, public works director for the township, says it’s the fourth straight year the township has won the award, after it implemented a number of new programs in 2008. He says there are plenty of thanks to go around.
"Really the sanitation and highway workers deserve a lot of the credit-- they get the job done," Loschiavo said. "And council, the township manager, and public works department should get a lot of credit for doing the right thing. As a result the environmental benefit has been great."
Although he didn't have exact numbers, Loschiavo says the township paid over $500,000 in disposal costs in 2007, before the implementation of many of the recycling programs. Last year, that amount was down to about $300,000.
Loschiavo believes the success is the sum of many initiatives. In particular, he points to single stream recycling, weekly yard work pickup, curbside leaf collection, and the electronics-recycling program.
"A lot of places are really good at composting, or at recycling," Loschiavo said. "But Plymouth Township has a really good balance of doing everything well."
Loschiavo believes the residents are to thank too, saying they've quickly hopped on board with new programs the township has offered. In return they get perks, as their yard work gets returned in mulch form and the township's overhead decreases, Loschiavo said.
"The residents deserve a lot of credit because we put these programs out there and they responded," Loschiavo said. "Our numbers have gone up each year, so it's been really positive."
At Monday's meeting, council chair Sheldon Simpson added Loschiavo as one more person to thank.
"On behalf of [Loschiavo], who oversees the programs and brings new ideas on a regular basis…and our hardworking public works department, council thanks them for a job well done and great effort."
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