Recycling Rates

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The City of Providence contracts Rhode Island Waste Management to collect and dispose of its waste and recycling. Waste Management is responsible for bringing Providence’s refuse to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Center in Johnston where it’s either processed at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) if it qualifies as recycling, or sent to the landfill. Providence had the worst recycling and diversion rates in the State in 2023 and generated more waste than any other municipality.

 

190,934: Number of residents in Providence

55,000: Number of households in Providence served by Waste Management

73,647–Tons of solid waste generated

1.34–Tons of trash landfilled per Providence household

2,179–Tons of Materials Recovery Facility recycling (mixed recyclables)

3,864–Tons of composted material diverted (includes leaf and yard waste, Christmas trees, brush and stumps)

160–Tons of scrap metal diverted (includes appliances with and without freon, auto batteries, propane tanks and other tons reported as scrap metal)

430–Tons of ‘other recycling’ diverted (includes all other diverted materials: antifreeze, bicycles, books, bulky rigid plastics, concrete, cooking oil, electronic waste, fluorescent bulbs, food scraps, household batteries, reused household items, mattresses and box springs, motor oil & filters, paint, plastic bags & film, paper shredded at special events, tires and wood pallets)

80,279–Tons of total waste generated (total tons of solid waste + MRF mixed recycling + composted material + clothing + scrap metal)

17,173–Tons of rejected recycling (contaminated mixed recycling loads that do not meet minimum quality standards, are not processed in the MRF and are subsequently landfilled)

79–Pounds of MRF recycling per Providence household

624–Pounds of rejected recycling per Providence household

2,949–Number of tickets issued for improper storage, late removal, contaminated recycling, and overflow in 2023

$512,075–City revenue for tickets issued in 2023

2.9%–MRF recycling rate (includes MRF mixed recyclables)

7.8%–Providence mandatory recycling rate (includes materials on RIDEM’s Mandatory Recyclables list: MRF mixed recyclables, composted materials, scrap metal and clothing)

35%–Rhode Island’s mandatory minimum recycling rate

29.6%–State average for mandatory recycling

8.3%–Providence diversion rate (includes MRF mixed recyclables, RIDEM mandatory materials and materials listed as “other recycling”)

50%–Rhode Island’s mandatory minimum solid waste diversion rate

30.7%–State average for mandatory diversion

 

Sources:

2023 Municipal Summary of Waste

2023 Municipal Matrix–download here

Report on municipal recycling, composting and waste diversion in Rhode Island

 

Emily Smith moved to Providence in 2022 and wanted to contribute to the Providence Eye to learn more about her new community. Emily works in international development, facilitating grants to all parts of the world. She lives in Federal Hill.