In 2017, Buffalo fell short of meeting their 34 percent recycling rate goal. This year they hope to change that through the various programs they offer, many of which have incentives for taking part.
"You know there's a lot of different ways that people can participate in recycling program other than curbside just using their tote," said City of Buffalo Recycling Director Susan Attridge.
Yard waste can be dropped off at the Seneca Street Engineering Garage year round and in exchange get compost or wood chips for gardening.
You can bring broken items to the Dare to Repair Cafe where once a month volunteers fix items so they don't end up in landfills. The event is free and open to the public.
Twice a year there are even shredding events and hazardous waste material drops offs.
Attridge says all these initiatives have already helped increase the recycling rate.
In 2017, 60 out of 150 block clubs in Buffalo participated in the Let's DO This! program. This also increased numbers but they would like to see even more block clubs participate.
"Over a four week period if they increase their recycling rates they receive a $100 stipend for beautification materials that go right back into the neighborhoods and also a grand prize of a community shredding event and planters for their street," she said.
This year, Buffalo Public Schools can help increase recycling. Any school can apply to the Environmental Champions Program and must form a green team to create a program that reduces, reuses and recycles in the school.
"If they do that, each school will receive a $500 prize towards recycling totes, grassroots garden or something of that nature to help them promote their environmental programming in their school. Every time we have introduced a new program we do see a bump in the numbers," said Attridge.
Neighborhoods are even being looked at to see where there can be improvement. The city worked with Zerocycle to see which neighborhoods need improving and comparing them to neighborhoods that are average and above average.
"We're targeting certain neighborhoods with a mailer that shows them how they could do a little bit better maybe even as good as their joining neighborhoods so a little neighborhood by neighborhood competition," Attridge said.
At 28.36 percent the goal is near. With all these different and engaging programs, the city hopes their goal will be met.