NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Everyone knows his face. Totes McGoats is the recycling mascot for the city of Niagara Falls. He’s a world-wide sensation. He went viral on Twitter last year. City leaders had high hopes he would turn the citys’ recycling program around.
Totes McGoats is of course the symbol for the recycling program in Niagara Falls. But what came with him was a city ordinance, big changes for neighbors and big blue bins. City leaders say before this program was put in place this city was almost a decade behind, and needed help fast.
Totes McGoats is SWEET Program Coordinator Brook D’Angelo’s brain child. She said he a bigger purpose then just being a viral sensation. “We were really behind the times everywhere else in the country, every major city had an in-depth recycling program, so now we gave them an incentive to recycle.”
The city now also limits how much garbage you can throw away, plus a part-time employee scouts neighborhoods for recycling offenders with a potential fine of $75 dollars. So, as Totes McGoats turns one-year-old this weekm did he make a difference?
D’Angelo said, “I would like to think that Totes has been instrumental in recognizing this program.” Niagara Falls has increased its recycling rate by 50 percent and cut the amount of trash it dumps in landfills by almost 20 percent.
Long-time Niagara Falls resident, Robert Weber says he’s noticed a slight improvement since the program started, but not everyone is on board. He said, “You read a lot of horror stories about it, where people don’t use it, or they’ll use it for the wrong reasons, and throw stuff in the streets there’s a lot of that. A lot of them aren’t schooled in how to use them, but I think it’s working, they’re getting more stuff out.”
Leaders tell us they’re happy with the growth they’ve seen over the past year, but they want to continue that next steps will including going into city schools to teach recycling at a young age.
If you’d like more information about the recycling program in Niagara Falls you can visit their website here.