As the nation prepares to celebrate AMERICA RECYCLES DAY on November 15, PRC – a recognized as a state and national leader in waste reduction and recycling – reports significant program success in 2020 despite numerous logistical challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“PRC is extremely proud to report that many of our programs experienced increases in participation in 2020, a tribute to the public’s continued dedication to responsibly disposing of waste even under extremely challenging circumstances,” according to PRC Interim Managing Director Sarah Alessio Shea. “Last spring we faced numerous obstacles regarding how to organize collection events and deliver adult education programs during a pandemic, but the PRC staff rallied to join forces with our government and private partners to quickly present options for effectively adapting our service delivery.”
Examples of successful PRC programs in 2020 include:
In June, PRC retooled its glass campaign and launched a pilot program offering a contact-free drop-off service in municipalities no longer accepting glass in curbside recycling collection. This rotating weeklong service, which is free to residents, provides a safe method of recycling glass while eliminating the need to interact with other individuals or touch shared surfaces.
During the bin’s first 100 days on the road, PRC served 3,000+ households by collecting 58+ tons of glass.
HOUSEHOLD CHEMICAL COLLECTIONS
In June, PRC held the first of seven collection events to provide residents with an opportunity to safely dispose of common chemicals such as cleaners, paints, batteries, motor oil and pesticides. PRC incorporated safety measures such as advance registration and a new fee structure to reduce the number of interactions occurring between event participants and staff.
At the first four PRC collection events, 2,625 households participated (158% increase from last year) by dropping off 364,290 pounds of chemicals (124% increase from last year).
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WORKSHOPS
In June, PRC adapted its adult education program to feature online workshops to enable individuals to take part in webinars from the comfort and safety of their homes. Classes include backyard composting and watershed awareness/rain barrel. A free Recycling & Waste Reduction webinar is offered once/month to residents living throughout the state.
PRC has conducted 34 online environmental webinars to date and will continue offering weekly webinars exploring methods to prevent waste and conserve environmental resources.
“The success and growth of PRC programs during this challenging year is truly the result of a team effort, and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all partners, funders and individuals who shared their problem-solving skills and did it in record time,” said Shea. “In years to come, many of the systems put in place in 2020 will become permanent fixtures, since we’ve learned a tremendous amount about efficiency and service delivery while adapting logistics during the pandemic.”