EGG HARBOR CITY — More than 400 people are expected to fan out to clean up trash and litter from the city’s streets, lake and park during the sixth annual cleanup Saturday.
Most are likely to be members of groups hoping to win one of four $250 prizes funded by the state Clean Communities program, Mayor Lisa Jiampetti said.
She hopes more individual residents will come out and that they will take an interest in recycling as a result.
“We usually collect 3 tons of litter, about half of which is recyclables,” Jiampetti said. “Everybody has a good time. It’s a good way to get to know your neighbors, show pride, deter littering and promote recycling.”
More recycling could mean more money in taxpayers’ pockets, Jiampetti said.
“A lot of our tax dollars go to pay the ACUA (in tipping fees for trash),” she said. A higher recycling rate would mean less money spent on landfilling trash and more money refunded to the city from the state for recycling grants, she said.
Egg Harbor City’s recycling rate for waste collected by the ACUA is a respectable 42 percent, said ACUA President Rick Dovey, who lives in Egg Harbor City and participates each year in the cleanup. But it can always improve, he agreed.
“It has been as low as 27 percent in 2007,” he said. Single-stream recycling, which started in 2008, helped boost the rate.
The city had the fourth-highest recycling rate in the county in 2012 for materials collected by the ACUA, behind Absecon at 43 percent, Linwood at 47 percent and Northfield at 56 percent. That does not include materials collected by private haulers.
In 2010, the latest information available, Egg Harbor City collected $5,172 in a recycling tonnage grant, based on how much it recycled. It has about 4,200 residents and 1,600 households.
Jiampetti said cleanup and recycling programs at the city’s schools are designed to teach the next generation to recycle more.
“We’re making them aware, and we hope someday they’ll start making good choices,” she said of the students.
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