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Pittsfield Launches Recycling Awareness Campaign

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield is upping its recycling game.

The city has launched a new campaign to educate residents on the "dos" and "don'ts" of recycling.

"Pittsfield Recycles — The Right Way" reminds people that food or liquid does not belong in recycling, recyclables cannot be bagged, and clothes don't go in the bin.

The campaign kickstarted with a video starring Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities Ricardo Morales and will promote good recycling habits through early August. It will also feature three billboards throughout the city, an ad on a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus, and local public service announcements and postcards.

Morales said communitywide recycling is a great thing because it shows care for the city, however, when recycling is not done properly it contributes to more waste and higher disposal-related costs.

"We are always looking to not enter into some sort of violation within our contract with the materials recycling facility if they find a load that is contaminated," he added. "Contamination in this case would be contaminated with things that do not belong in that load, essentially, it leads to them fining the city or billing the city back some extra money based on that contamination."

Annually, Pittsfield recycles about 2,000 tons of material per year, as compared to the nearly 18,000 tons of trash that are discarded. The city ranks as average or below average as compared to the rest of the county.

Though it is not the motive behind the campaign, Morales said he would like to see the city "essentially double" the amount of recycling it does.

No changes are being made to the process of recycling, as "Pittsfield Recycles — The Right Way" is just to raise awareness.

Currently, the city contracts with Community Eco Pittsfield LLC (CEP) for recycling. The materials are brought to Covanta Pittsfield LLC on Hubbard Avenue and are transported to Springfield from there.  

The City Council on Tuesday tabled a request to enter into a new agreement with CEP because of concern over a clause in the contract for termination that requires the company to notify the city 150 days before shutting down or discontinuing service.

The councilors requested the 150-day requirement be amended to one year, or 365 days, to protect the city.
"When you're going to pick up operations and get out of here, it doesn't give the residents, doesn't give a lot of people all the time to come up with a plan and see what we're gonna do," Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said. "And our expenses are going to increase and everything, so there's got to be some time put in there to get the city, and especially the residents time to adapt here."

Members of the council also expressed concern for the Hubbard Avenue facility's three-day schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for residents to access the facility.

Morales said on Wednesday that the city is currently working with CEP to incorporate the concerns that were communicated and are waiting to hear back. The council will have to vote on the agreement again at its July 13 meeting.

He explained that the purpose of the new agreement is to update one that was created in 2004.

"We've had an agreement with the operator of the facility at the Hubbard Avenue incinerator for more than 20 years, and the last iteration of the agreement was entered in 2004, since then, there hasn't been, in essence, a new agreement, there's only been amendments and extensions," Morales said. "We're tossing away the old one, we're combining all the original documents, the amendments, and we're converting it into one agreement to move forward from here."

As soon as the agreement is approved, Morales said the administration and CEP can move forward as opposed to looking back to an agreement nearly two decades old.

Tags: recycling,   trash,   

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Pittsfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Larceny

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Heidi Kushi pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny and was sentenced to state prison.  
On Monday, Jan. 30, Heidi Kushi, 57 years old of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny by single scheme. She was indited in July of 2019. 
The defendant was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in state prison, both counts concurrent, by Judge Agostini. 
Kushi, who began working for Donovan Construction in June 2013 as their accountant/bookkeeper, stole $138,772.72 during her time at the company. From June 1, 2013, to the date she was terminated, April 27, 2018, Kushi overpaid herself totaling approximately $38,000. From 2017 the date of termination, Ms. Kushi used the Donovan Construction bank account to pay off credit cards including cards in her elderly mother's name with the defendant identified as an authorized user. 
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