Statement as issued Wednesday by the city:
Fort Wayne, Ind. – Heralded as a model in recycling, the City of Fort Wayne’s Solid Waste Department system is receiving the “Gold” award for excellence, tops in North America, from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).
“We are thrilled that our program is receiving national recognition and has become a model for other communities,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “We’ve believed all along that recycling not only makes good sense from an environmental perspective, it also makes good economic sense. Our challenge was to come up with a cost-efficient way to do it. Our residents have embraced One Cart Recycling and have made this program a huge success. We share this award with the community.”
The award given in the Collections Systems category – evaluated Fort Wayne’s plan in eight categories. By winning the Gold Award, Fort Wayne outshined other communities in the design, planning, performance and public acceptance of its single-stream collection system. In fact, one of the judges gave Fort Wayne a perfect score.
A formal presentation of the award will be presented at SWANA’s national conference in Washington, D.C. on August 14.
The One Cart recycling program began in January of 2011, with a goal of providing residents with an easier way to recycle and reducing costs in garbage and recycling collection.
Since its inception, City residents embraced the One Cart recycling program, and participation skyrocketed from 34 percent to 73 percent.
That increase in participation made it possible for the city to lower garbage and recycling fees twice in less than a year, which reduced user fees by $1 million dollars citywide. It saved money by reducing the amount of garbage sent to the landfill, which resulted in a reduction of landfill fees; because the new contract split the profits between the City and the hauler, the City took in nearly $500,000 last year. This is the first contract from which the City has received proceeds from the recycled goods.
“There’s no reason we cannot continue increasing the number of residents participating in our program and that’s why I issued a challenge earlier this year to get to 80 percent. We’re not there yet, but I know we can make it,” said Mayor Henry.
Residents desiring to participate in One Cart recycling program can call 311, and a cart will be delivered to their home.
The Gold award is not the first award given to the One Cart Recycling Program. In September, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) awarded the City its prestigious Community Achievement Award, recognizing Fort Wayne’s achievement in efficiencies by reducing costs and generating revenues, while at the same time doubling community participation and reducing rates.
The SWANA “Gold” award is a prestigious award won last year by Miami – Dade County.
The 2012 Collections Category winners;
Gold - City of Fort Wayne; Fort Wayne, Indiana
Silver - City of College Station; College Station, Texas
Bronze - Emerald Coast Utilities Authority; Pensacola, Florida