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Successful first year for recycling program

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Buffalo: Successful first year for recycling program
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The Queen City became "greener" in 2012, as residents stepped up recycling efforts with the green cart program. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about the program's success and how the city plans to build upon it going forward.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With more room to hold everything from paper to pots and pans, the new green totes helped the city of Buffalo recycle more than ever last year.

"Usually, we'd end up with 8,000 ton, 9,000 ton a year; now we're at 13,000 ton and we know we can continue to go forward," said Steve Stepniak, commissioner of Buffalo's Department of Public Works.

Based on its success, Stepniak says the city will continue its weekly recycling collection, which is important to residents like Michael Smith.

"My recycling bin is totally full every single week, whereas my garbage can is probably a quarter full now. You can put a lot more things into the recycling bin now than you could before, so therefore, we recycle more," said Smith.

Stepniak says the totes help reduce the city's carbon footprint, and have another kind of "green" impact.

"It's kind of a two-fold effect, we get money for our recycling goods and we also get a cost aversion from the landfill, and this year, we're going to save the city of Buffalo over a million dollars based on our program," said Stepniak.

Stepniak says the focus now is on increasing participation. He says they hope to get all of the schools involved, work with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and expand their commercial pickup.

Stepniak also says the totes have a radio frequency transmitter tag that can help them determine how much is collected in certain areas.

"We really haven't had to activate that yet, because all areas have gone up, and what helps us too is to understand where we could do better as far as outreach, community outreach, and those are programs that we're looking forward to this year," said Stepniak.

"It is much easier for people, so hopefully more people will do it," said Smith.

Anyone with questions about the city's recycling program can call 311, (716) 851-4890, or click here. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP