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City of Buffalo marks Earth Day by reporting increased recycling

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

On Earth Day 2016, officials from the City of Buffalo delivered statistics showing an increase in recycling by residents. Leaders are hopeful the upward trend will continue as the city looks to reach the goal of an initiative introduced one year ago.

This year's Earth Day marks the first anniversary of Buffalo's 34andMore initiative, a program which aims to create 34 or more percent diversion of solid waste from landfills by next year.

The city is well below that level but Mayor Brown reported recycling to be on the rise between 2014 and 2015.

"For the calendar year 2015, our recycling rate climbed another 2.9 percent over the prior year, to 25.7 percent, continuing the promising 34andMore program," Brown said. 

The city recycled more than 29 million pounds in 2015 which, according to Brown, is Buffalo's highest amount ever. 

The news conference marking the first anniversary of 34andMore was hosted in front of Hyatt's All Things Creative, an art supply store on Main Street that is one of several stores displaying recyclables crafted into pieces of art. The works inside the windows of Hyatt's featured figures made of plastic shopping bags, newspapers, cardboard tubes and other materials.

It is part of a series known as the Green City Window Project, which originated in Edmonton, Canada according to Kelly Atkinson, the founder of Buffalo's version.

"We're happy to have it here with over 20 stores involved," she said. "Many of the stores have traditional artists doing the storefront windows. We also have some less traditional groups."

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
Art creations made by students at Elmwood Village Charter School are on display this Earth Day in the windows of Hyatt's All Things Creative on Main Street. The display is one of many in Buffalo's Green City Windows project.

The pieces inside Hyatt's, for example, were made by students at Elmwood Village Charter School. 

Mayor Brown told reporters that he will introduce incentives to encourage increased recycling when he reveals his 2016-17 city budget at a later date.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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