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Waste & Recycling August 31, 2023 02:10:45 AM

City of Cambridge, MA Department of Public Works: On The Right Track

Waste Advantage
ScrapMonster Author
While some of the collection services are provided by outside contractors, the DPW crew does pick up for about 65 percent of its 115,000 residents and 200 small businesses for recycling and organics.

City of Cambridge, MA Department of Public Works: On The Right Track

SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the City of Cambridge, MA hosts a continuously changing, dynamic population that makes the Department of Public Works (DPW) an important entity in handling waste collection for the residents and businesses in this historic city. Located across the river from Boston, the City of Cambridge currently offers residential curbside recycling, as well as trash, organics, and yard waste collection. The city also has curbside collection services for mattresses, textiles, appliances, TVs, and large metal items. While some of the collection services are provided by outside contractors, the DPW crew does pick up for about 65 percent of its 115,000 residents and 200 small businesses for recycling and organics.

Zero Waste Master Plan
The path to creating a robust waste diversion program began in 2018 when the city adopted a Zero Waste Master Plan. The primary goal was to reduce trash 30 percent by 2020, 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, with 2008 as a baseline. The city implemented 10 actions from the Plan between 2018 and 2022:
1. Expand Curbside Organics Collection to residents (up to 12-unit buildings)
2. Begin Small Business Recycle Pilot
3. Begin Mattress Recycling Program
4. Improve recycling through Recycle Right campaign
5. Expand Curbside Compost to buildings with 13 units or more
6. Expand Small Business Recycle Program
7. Start Small Business Compost Pilot
8. Start Textiles Recovery Program
9. Launch Standard Trash Carts
10. Expand Small Business Compost Pilot

“Some of the goals were concurrent, such as the Recycle Right campaign that took about a year to reduce contamination to four percent. It took commitments from many of the property managers, tagging the bins, and several other tests to get that in motion,” says Michael Orr, Recycling Director for the City of Cambridge DPW. “Other things were easier like the small business recycling program. We had a sign-up sheet for applicants and 100 or more small businesses excited to receive the free service. In less than three months, it was up and running. All of these programs are a team effort.”

Courtesy: www.wasteadvantagemag.com

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