Memo for fiscal year 2021, updated 2020-02-27

[Archived] Question # 42: What activities are planned to utilize the WasteSmart Implementation Contingency proposed for FY 2021?


What activities are planned to utilize the WasteSmart Implementation Contingency proposed for FY 2021? (Mayor Wilson)


The FY 2020 Approved Budget included cost increases for initiatives in the WasteSmart plan. Those initiatives, which total $102,846, were incorporated in the refuse fee and remain as a part of the FY 2021 Proposed Budget at the same funding level. Here is a breakdown of the specific initiatives, their estimated costs, and their anticipated benefits:

Operating costs for glass drop off facilities ($40,000 annually)
o This service covers the operations, labor, education, and disposal costs for the implementation of four glass recycling drop-off facilities across the City. The City removed glass from the single stream bin in January 2020 and anticipates the participation for the purple bin program to grow. Glass collected in purple bins have been transferred to a Fairfax County facility where it will be sent to be recycled into new glass bottles or crushed into aggregate and sand that are used for local public works projects. The City has implemented five containers throughout the City including a partnership with MOM’s Organics Market.

Education/Outreach Improvements ($59,846 annually) include:
o Regional Recycle Right campaign - Participation with regional partners allows the City’s investment to go farther. The goal is a decrease in contamination of the recycling stream which will result in a cost reduction for recycling processing. In FY 2020, the Recycle Right regional campaign used streaming radio (Pandora), digital ads on the web, paid social media (Facebook), and broadcast radio. The City of Alexandria had a total of 3,844,479 impressions through this campaign.

o Improved print materials and website (with multi-language translation) - The goal is to reach more residents with details on what material is recyclable and what is not with translations. In FY 2020, the glass mailers that were sent out were translated in Spanish and Amharic. Staff proposes to continue education and outreach efforts to increase awareness and decrease contamination while also increasing accessibility of content.

o Online/app-based sorting game - The goal is to simplify the sorting process and reduce contamination as well as teaching students and the next generation how to sort materials correctly.

Reduce and Reuse Programming ($3,000)
o Education and programming to discourage single-use plastic generation such as plastic bags. Plastic bags are one of the top contaminants in the recycling bin, and this program would also serve as an education and outreach opportunity.

o Online reuse directory of local vendors that provide repair, donate, and consign (second-hand reuse shop) services. The goal is to reduce overall waste in both trash and recycling streams.

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