The tonnage of recyclables collected in Westport has soared 167 percent since the town began single-stream recycling in July 2011, resulting in approximately $220,000 annual savings to the town, public works officials said.

A total of about 2,500 tons were collected from July to March, compared to a total of about 940 tons of recyclables collected from July 2010 to March 2011 -- an increase of about 1,570, tons or 167 percent, according to Public Works Director Steve Edwards.

"As suggested by the increased recycling volumes, residents have been very supportive of the new initiative," Edwards said.

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Recycling rates Percentage of refuse collected that has been recycled since single-stream recycling began in July 2011, according to the town's Public Works Department. Hauler Pct. Adams Refuse 32 Bayberry Services 17 City Carting 27 Cousins Carting 33 D&D Refuse 45 J&J Refuse 28 Malone's Refuse 49

Since July, Westport has partnered with nine other communities in the region in initiating single-stream recycling -- Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, Monroe, Easton, Orange, Woodbridge and East Haven.

Westport's single-stream recycling program allows for the recycling of all plastic food containers numbered 1 through 7; chipboard products including cereal boxes and shoe boxes; all junk mail, aseptic containers, including milk and juice cartons and single-service juice boxes; and aerosol cans that contain food or cosmetic products (but not paint or automotive products).

Westport's solid waste is disposed of at the Wheelabrator incinerator in Bridgeport at a total cost of approximately $85 per ton, Edwards said.

Separation of the individual commodities is performed by a combination of manual labor and automated equipment using density, magnets, and optical scanners, Edwards said. The sorting process is performed by ReCommunity Recycling at the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority facility in Hartford.

Removal of 1,570 tons from the waste stream has saved the town approximately $134,000, Edwards said. The town's single-stream contract also offers a rebate of $20 per ton for every ton delivered to the processing facility in Hartford. The rebate accounts for about another $31,000 in revenue from the sale of the recyclables, according to Edwards.

Seven licensed refuse haulers serve Westport. In the last nine months, those seven haulers have collected about 5,500 tons of municipal solid waste and approximately 2,000 tons of recyclables, producing a recycling rate of 38 percent.

"Success of the Westport recycling program is due in no small part to the cooperation of the local refuse haulers," Edwards added.