Mayor won’t enforce recycling rules

News and analysis by Dan Telvock, Investigative Post's environmental reporter

The curbside recycling rate in Buffalo continues to lag behind the national average.

In 2016, Buffalo reported a curbside recycling rate of 15 percent, a negligble increase from the previous year. That’s still well below the national average of 25 percent for curbside programs. The curbside rate is based primarily on paper, plastic, glass and other materials that residents place in the green totes.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown visited the Modern Disposal plant on Tuesday to accept a $62,500 check for the city’s recycling education fund. The city’s contract with Modern requires the company to finance a portion of the city’s program outreach each quarter. The city two years ago spent $90,000 on marketing the program, but the effort did very little to boost the curbside rate.

One problem reported by Investigative Post numerous times is the city’s refusal to enforce provisions in the City Charter that mandate recycling for businesses and apartment complexes.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told Investigative Post that he is still reluctant to levy fines against businesses and apartment complexes that do not follow the mandate in the Charter.