From clothes to pans, Rochester to start ‘Pink Bag’ recycling

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Daniel Monahan Jan 14, 2019

ROCHESTER — In an effort to go green, Rochester residents will be asked to start thinking pink. That’s because the town’s “pink bag” program starts this week, a plan which allows residents to fill bags with dry clothing, shoes or household items for recycling. 

Through a contract with Simple Recycling and Waste Zero, the town is implementing a new program on Jan. 18 aimed at reducing the level of recyclable material being thrown away or collecting dust in homes. 

Simple Recycling is a for-profit recycler which offers residents an easy way to keep usable materials from heading to the landfill. Waste Zero produces the bags and handles the education aspect, while Simple Recycling processes the materials.

On Monday, Jan. 14, Selectmen said that residents will be receiving their first pink bag in the mail. Those pink bags are to be filled with clothing, shoes, jewelry, cloth toys, blankets, coats and jackets and a variety of items typically thrown away.

According to Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar, items placed in the 30-gallon pink bags do not need to be in good condition, but should be clean and dry.

“It coincides with your recycling day,” Szyndlar said. “The Simple van follows the same route as our existing ones.”

Szyndlar said that the program with Simply Recycling is at no cost to residents or the town. For its participation in the program, Rochester will actually be paid $10 for every ton recycled — meanwhile every ton in the recycling bin costs the town, she said. 

Simple Recycling pays for the collected items and either sells them to charities, donates them to people in need, or processes them into raw materials such as insulation.

“This is money in your pocket, the recycling bin is money out of your pocket,” said Chair Greenwood Hartley. “So, fill these up, put them on the side of the road next to the recycling bin.” 

Single-stream recycling is becoming more stringent, Szyndlar said, and the town has to pay when items can’t be recycled.

Once the pink bag is picked up, a replacement will be left with the homeowner for free. To request additional bags from Simple Recycling, fill out the form here.