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Boston aims for zero waste

Key parts of the plan include expanding Boston’s composting programme, increasing access to recycling facilities and launching a city-wide education campaign on recycling.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh has launched Boston’s first-ever zero waste plan.

 

The recommendations include 30 near- and long-term strategies for reducing both consumption of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. Key parts of the plan include expanding

Boston’s composting programme, increasing access to recycling facilities and launching a city-wide education campaign on recycling.

 

Boston is aiming to increase the recycling rate in the city from 25 per cent today to 80 per cent by 2035.

 

Boston is aiming to increase the recycling rate in the city from 25 per cent today to 80 per cent by 2035.

 

Approximately six per cent of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions come from discarded materials. By reducing waste, recycling more and composting, Boston aims to reduce emissions associated with waste and move closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

“Preparing Boston for climate change means ensuring our city is sustainable, both now and in the future,” said Mayor Walsh. “We need to lead, and design city policies that work for our residents, and for the environment and world we depend upon. These initiatives will lead Boston towards becoming a zero waste city, and invest in the future of residents and generations to come.”

 

Seeking partners

 

The new initiatives are included in a set of recommendations by the Zero Waste Boston Advisory Committee, which was appointed by Mayor Walsh last year.

 

The committee led jointly by the Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation and the Chief of Environment, Energy & Open Space, was tasked with developing recommendations of short- and long-term policies and programmes that would lead to major reductions of solid waste in all sectors of the Boston community. The committee was supported by staff from the Public Works and Environment Departments and a team of experts including Perlmutter Associates, Zero Waste Associates, and the Center for EcoTechnology.

 

“We’re devoting significant resources to achieve both our short and long-term goals and ensure our city is more sustainable for decades to come,” said Chief of Streets and Zero Waste Co-Chair, Chris Osgood. “By implementing these recommendations, there is no doubt that Boston can achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a Zero Waste City.”

 

Currently Boston residents and businesses generate around 1.2 million tons of materials annually, where 25 per cent is reused, recycled or composted and 75 per cent is disposed in incinerators or landfills.

 

Currently Boston residents and businesses generate around 1.2 million tons of materials annually, where 25 per cent is reused, recycled or composted and 75 per cent is disposed in incinerators or landfills. The Zero Waste Committee recommended 30 overall strategies within four core categories to increase composting, recycling and reuse.

 

Encouraging composting and recycling

 

As well as expanding yard waste collection, Boston will pilot curbside collection of food waste from residents and will shortly issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a subscription-based curbside collection service partner.

 

A further Request for Information (RFI) aims to identify solutions to increase the City’s composting services and expand local or regional composting capacity.

 

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