Narragansett Still Waits for Its Recycling Program

When I first got to Rhode Island just over two years ago, I was stunned at the responses I’d get when I asked the simple question: “So how do I recycle here?”

I generally received blank stares or “Oh, we don’t recycle here” or “Oh, we just throw that stuff in the garbage.” It was like going back to the early 1990s in Philadelphia, our hometown. We had figured that since southern Rhode Island was so scenic and that the state was seemingly so liberally-inclined, it would be way ahead of the curve with recycling.

A typical scene in my native homeland: The Phillie Phanatic, recycling mascot Curby Bucket, Mayor Michael Nutter and the St. Joe's Hawk sign landmark legislation that moves the city to single-stream recycling. That's just how we roll.

A typical scene in my native homeland: The Phillie Phanatic, recycling mascot Curby Bucket, Mayor Michael Nutter and the St. Joe's Hawk sign landmark legislation that moves Philadelphia to single-stream recycling.


Flummoxed, my partner and I started looking for information on how to recycle (which is how we came to the scary conclusion that Rhode Island was way behind the curve when it came to the interwebs too). Finally, we found that if we wanted to recycle, we’d need to drive it to a transfer station about two miles away. We just leased a car after living for years on little more than walking and transit, so we figured, hey, when in Rome… And it was fine. We felt active about our recycling, but we felt a little ridiculous about burning fossil fuels to do so.

"Kids, remember: Always recycle: TO THE EXTREME!!!" -- Poochie the Dog

"Kids, remember: Always recycle... TO THE EXTREME!!!" -- Poochie the Dog


Last year, we were thrilled to learn that our town would introduce curbside recycling. We’re a little disappointed at some of the limitations of the program in terms of what we can recycle, but it’s ultra-convenient and the service (both recycling and trash pickup) is flawless, which is a definite, concrete, gigantic improvement over Philly’s notoriously bad/late/sloppy/surly garbage and recycling service, even though we need to pay a private company to do it here, rather than enjoy it as a municipal service as we did back home.

We’ve been in our happy curbside recycling state for over a year now, and we forgot that the next town over, Narragansett, STILL doesn’t have a mandatory recycling program, which is made even more egregious by the fact that a.) it’s an oceanside community and b.) it’s the home of the Green Life Smart Life project!

Perhaps Curby Bucket needs to take a trip to Narragansett and get this program moving!

Perhaps Curby Bucket needs to take a trip to Narragansett and get this program moving!


The will apparently is there to introduce a recycling program in Narragansett. Predictably, it’s a money issue. The grant money needed to start the program has dried up due to the global economic crash. According to the South County Independent article in the link above, my town submitted its grant application before the crash; Narragansett didn’t.

The town now is trying to decide how exactly to go forward with its recycling plan. Wait for a grant? Charge the residents for it? “No-bin, no-bag/barrel”? (Someone clue me in on that last one; I still don’t understand the description in the article.) We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, what’s the recycling program in your town like?

Posted by Joe Paone

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One Response

  1. Hey Joe
    I am a member of URI student senate. The students are very interested in starting a recycling program because many of us live in narragansett. Please contact me with any ideas on to get started.
    Thanks
    Nicole

    nmingoia@mail.uri.edu

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