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MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR: ONE CART RECYCLING A SUCCESS

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MAYOR TOM HENRYYear-end numbers show that the City of Fort Wayne's One Cart recycling program has been a huge success!

Residents throughout the city have embraced recycling, with city households participating at an average rate of 70 percent. In Waynedale, the participation rate is slightly above average, at 70.6 percent. This is no small accomplishment, when you consider that our recycling participation rate has not exceeded 39 percent, since we began tracking such data in 2004, and in 2010 we were only at 34 percent participation. Thank you for your participation!

When our new One Cart recycling program was first launched last January, we sought to enhance our resolve to be environmentally-friendly and provide residents with a more cost-efficient trash collection system.

We have achieved our goal of reducing the amount of garbage that we're sending to the landfill. In 2006, the City sent 103,500 tons of garbage to the landfill. We sent more than 98,000 tons to the landfill in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Last year, we sent 88,953 tons of garbage to the landfill.

As our garbage collection rates have dropped, our recycling participation rates and tonnage numbers have skyrocketed! In 2006, we collected 10,100 tons of recyclables; we collected less than 10,000 tons in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2011, we collected 12,419 tons of recyclables – a marked increase over the 8,837 tons we collected the previous year.

Because increased recycling has reduced the amount of garbage going into the landfill, the City of Fort Wayne has experienced a reduction in its monthly garbage and recycling user fees. As a result, we've been able to lower garbage rates by $1 million – which meant passing on to residents two separate rate reductions in less than a year.

Last year the monthly fee for single-family homes dropped from $11 to $9.95 and the fee for multi-family homes dropped from $22 to $19.90.

Our new recycling contract allows the city to share in the revenue from our recycled materials for the first time in the Cities history. In 2011, we generated $426,932 in revenue from this new contract. We expect this figure to increase in 2012 because launching our new program took place gradually at the start of 2011; so several neighborhoods did not participate in the new system for the full 2011 year.

It is not too late to participate and I challenge you to participate, if you aren't already, and to encourage your neighbors to participate on the recycling program. It's not too late to order a cart. Residents can order carts by calling 311.

Our recycling program continues to be a prime example of how our City is doing more with less; we're using innovative methods to increase our efficiency, reduce costs and maximize savings for residents.

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
About This Author
A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column.
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