, Salem, MA

June 6, 2013

Help wanted: Salem looks for recycling enforcer

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The city is looking to hire someone up to the challenge of tracking residents’ recycling, spreading awareness and issuing fines through Salem’s new mandatory recycling policy.

A posting for a $19-per-hour recycling coordinator is up on the city’s website, after the City Council voted final approval of the mandatory recycling policy last week.

Applicants must respond to City Hall by June 11; the policy takes effect July 1.

The policy, meant to save the city money on trash disposal, will have an extensive grace period but will ultimately mean a $25 fine to residents who repeatedly fail to put recycling on the curb.

Adoption of the policy qualified the city for a $50,000 state grant, which will be used to pay the recycling coordinator.

The position will be paid “up to” $19 per hour for 35 hours per week, for 18 months (July 1 to Dec. 31, 2014), according to the city’s job posting. As a contract position, the job comes without benefits.

Once hired, the person will report to the business manager in the city engineering department.

The recycling coordinator will be responsible for outreach and publicity to spread awareness about the new recycling policy. He or she will also have to conduct “regular inspections” of trash pickup routes and issue warnings and fines to addresses that don’t follow the policy, according to the job posting.

The mandatory recycling policy will begin with a three-month grace period, during which no warnings or fines will be issued.

Under the new policy, the recycling coordinator will leave door hangers, call the household and send letters explaining the policy if a resident does not put recycling out to the curb on trash pickup day. A $25 fine will be issued only if a resident fails to put out recycling for eight consecutive weeks, despite the coordinator’s repeated letters and calls.

Fines can be waived if a household appeals and begins recycling within 21 days after the fine is issued.

The recycling coordinator will also be expected to collect and compile data on the city’s recycling rates.

The job posting asks for applicants with a valid driver’s license and good organizational and project management skills. Preference will be given to candidates who have prior experience running a recycling program in other towns and/or are familiar with Salem’s neighborhoods and “dual-stream” recycling.

Several drafts of the mandatory recycling policy were discussed and revised by councilors through March and April. Councilors removed language that would have asked the city’s trash hauler not to collect trash from addresses that didn’t put out a recycling bin with their trash barrels. As adopted, all residents’ trash will be collected regardless of whether they recycle.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.