DEP & Massachusetts Food Association Sign MOU to Advance Recycling and Composting
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Massachusetts Food Association signed a memorandum of understanding on August 24, 2005 that will encourage grocery stores across the state to increase their recycling participation - particularly in the composting of such items as spoiled fruits and vegetables, floral and deli wastes, and waxed cardboard.
The agreement outlines a collaborative effort between DEP and the industry group to advance recycling at supermarkets across Massachusetts by expanding their existing Supermarket Organics Recycling Network.
DEP will do its part by providing technical assistance to stores that want to start new programs and developing a voluntary certification program to provide regulatory relief incentives for supermarkets that establish and maintain comprehensive recycling programs.
The 57 grocery stores that participated in SORN last year composted and recycled between 60 and 75 percent of their waste, diverting 8,900 tons of organics, 26,200 tons of cardboard, and more than 1,000 tons of plastic from disposal, saving an average of more than $45,000 per store in the process.
Participation has since grown to 62 supermarkets. DEP and MFA hope at least 100 Massachusetts grocery stores will be recycling organics by next year. Their ultimate goal is for all supermarkets in the state to have active recycling and composting programs in place by 2010. For more information on this program contact Julia Wolfe.
DEP Issues RFR for Recycling Industries Reimbursement Credit (RIRC) Program
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued its RFR for the Recycling Industries Reimbursement Credit Grant Program (RIRC). RIRC provides grants to recycling companies for the purchase of capital equipment and/or funding for pilot projects to overcome barriers to establishing, or increasing the use of, difficult to recycle materials (food waste residuals; construction and demolition debris: paint, asphalt roofing shingles, wood, gypsum wallboard, carpet, used building products and components; and, commingled materials: mixed glass and mixed plastics). Please note that DEP anticipates having approximately $100,000 available for RIRC this fiscal year. RIRC applications are due on October 12, 2005.
DEP Holds Public Meetings on Department Approved Recycling Program (DARP)
DEP has scheduled four public meetings to gather comment from municipal officials, regional groups, and members of the general public regarding proposed criteria for the FY2007-08 Department Approved Recycling Program (DARP) - three in September and one coming up in October. DARP establishes minimum program criteria for municipal recycling and composting programs. "DARP" communities are exempt from comprehensive "waste ban" inspections of MSW that is tipped at Massachusetts transfer stations and disposal facilities. Banned items include paper, glass, metal and plastic containers, leaves and yard waste.
The public meeting in October will take place on October 12th, (Wednesday) at the Wilmington Public Library from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM.
DEP &MassRecycle Sponsor Recycling Facility Tours
Come see what happens to your recyclable materials after they're collected at the curb or drop-off facility! MassRecycle and DEP have joined forces to offer free tours of Massachusetts recycling facilities, featuring a wide range of materials (paper, asphalt roofing shingles, glass, and building materials) and locations. Registration for the tours is available on-line at www.massrecycle.org.
- The tours are valuable to municipal and commercial recycling and facilities staff because they will:
- See processing and manufacturing of recyclable materials.
- Learn what can and cannot by recycled and why.
- Gain an appreciation of the materials, contamination issues, and markets.
- Get take home stories regarding your recyclables to build support for your programs.
|October 5: ReStore Home Improvement, Springfield
(11:15 am - 12:30 pm)
The ReStore sells used building materials, including the kitchen sink! (Note: MRC Meeting schedule prior to tour.)
|October 19: Container Recycling Alliance, Franklin
(10:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Container Recycling Alliance sorts mixed-color container glass into feedstock for glass manufacturers.
|New Faces, New Positions in DEP's Recycling Program
New Bottle Bill Administrator: Nicholas Oliver has joined the DEP's Commercial Waste Reduction Branch as its new Bottle Bill Administrator. In addition to handling bottle bill administration and policy related issues, Nicholas will be working on enhancements to the Mass Earth911 web site, public area recycling, and waste reduction in Massachusetts hospitals. Before coming to DEP, Nicholas served as Director of Advocacy for the American Heart Assn, Northeast Affiliate.
New Regional Planner: Tina Klein joined DEP's Municipal Waste Reduction Branch in August, filling the position previously held by Lori Segall. Tina is working with cities and towns on household hazardous waste programs, school chemical management grants, and vehicle idling reduction grants. She also oversees the Municipal Waste Combustor's Mercury Separation Plans and manages state contracts for electronics, mercury and HHW collection. Tina worked as the City of Lowell's recycling coordinator before joining DEP.
New Branch Chief: DEP is pleased to announce Peggy Harlow as its new Branch Chief for Commercial Waste Reduction. The position was vacated by Peter Allison in August, 2004. Peggy is no stranger to DEP; she served as the Municipal Recycling Grant Manager for 7+ years in the Municipal Waste Reduction Branch. Peggy brings a wealth of experience and know-how to her new position.
"Pay-As-You-Throw" Can work in your community! Here's How!
Many Massachusetts cities and towns are adding fees to supplement property tax revenues for trash services. Trash fees come as unit fees, flat fees, or a combination of these. As of July 2005, 114 Massachusetts municipalities use Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs to finance all or part of their solid waste budget and the number is growing. In the past year, the DEP awarded grants to 19 municipalities to evaluate PAYT and three municipalities to implement new programs.
- DEP promotes PAYT for management of municipal solid waste (MSW) because it offers three advantages over a tax-based system:
- Equity/Fairness - Users who generate more trash pay more; just like they would for water or sewer usage or electricity. Those familiar with PAYT programs view them as a fair way to fund trash disposal.
- Environment - National and local research shows that residents reduce their trash tonnage by 15 - 50% when required to pay by the bag/barrel. Brockton's Mayor, John T. Yunits, said "PAYT has been successful in their City, reducing trash 24% initially and more each year and resulting in cleaner streets" .1
- Economics - A PAYT system can reduce the demand on property tax revenues. DEP statewide data shows that the average per household trash tonnage is 30% lower in PAYT cities and towns . 2
Rate Setting and Estimating Revenue - Rate setting is key to setting and meeting a city or town's annual solid waste costs. The ideal is to match fixed costs with predictable funds and match variable costs with PAYT fees. Fixed costs are defined as costs that do not change with the tonnage of solid waste generated by a municipality's residents for providing curbside collection. Variable costs change as tonnage changes - primarily the disposal cost of trash. Setting unit fees (the fee per bag) is a critical step since this fee must adequately account for the municipality's yearly cost of solid waste disposal.
For more information visit the DEP website for a listing of Massachusetts PAYT programs and contacts; and to obtain technical assistance, financial planning and grants to offset start-up costs.
1Mayor John T. Yunits, Mayor's Panel, DEP Waste Forum Conference, January 13, 2004
2DEP Bureau of Waste Planning Data from 2002 Recycling Data Sheets, provided by John Fisher
School Green Team Kick-Off
DEP kicked off its school Green Team program, now in its fourth year, by mailing brochures to each public school principal and past Green Team teachers. The brochure invites them to join the Green Team, DEP's school waste reduction and recycling program, for the new school year. Teachers who join are mailed a Green Team kit, consisting of a classroom poster, program guide, lesson plan, achievement stickers and magnet. Classes progress through three achievement levels as they complete recycling activities. At the end of the school year, participating classes receive Certificates of Recognition and prizes. Additional resources and recycling equipment are available to Green Team members via the web site. Last year, 151 teachers representing 29,000 students joined the Green Team and 37 classes received awards for their participation.
Recycling Builds at Marshfield Fair
Last year, DEP provided a grant for a pilot recycling program at the 10-day Marshfield Fair. The program succeeded in recycling 5 tons of cardboard, bottles and cans, comprising about 10% of the Fair's waste stream, and was embraced by the Fair management to continue at future Fairs. DEP's Ann McGovern coordinated the volunteer recycling effort at the Fair again this year, from 8/19 through 8/28/2005.
Once again, approximately 5 tons of cardboard, bottles and cans were recycled, representing about 10% of the Fair's waste, similar to last year's results. Even better, 190,000 people attended the Fair, about 2% more than last year, yet the Fair experienced a 7% reduction in the tonnage of trash disposed compared to last year, in addition to the 10% recycled.
Some of the additional diversion might be a result of more people emptying bottles and cans for recycling, whereas in the past they were often thrown in the trash half full. With the help of 14 volunteers during the 10-day event, recycling has been adopted as part of the Fair's waste management system and has raised awareness of vendors and the public about conserving resources, reducing waste and recycling. For example, one of the vendors recycled used cooking oil from the other vendors for making biodiesel fuel for his truck.
Fifty 32-gallon wheeled carts w/specially designed lids to accept bottles and cans and 150 14-gallon curbside recycling bins were placed next to each trash can throughout the 25-acre fairgrounds. Vendors flattened cardboard and placed it on the ground next to the bins. Fairgoers and vendors placed bottles and cans in the curbside bins and toters. Contamination in the bins and toters was minimal, as long as there was a trash can next to them. Volunteers assisted with flattening cardboard, monitoring bins and public education. The Marshfield Fair Grounds staff picked up the recyclables at 7 am each morning (which is when the trash is picked up by packer truck) using a pick up truck, and transferred them to one of two 30 cubic yard roll off containers located in the maintenance area. The roll off containers were filled and emptied 4 times during the 10 days. North Shore Recycled Fibers, the Town of Marshfield's recycling contractor, donated the use and hauling of the roll offs.
Incorporating recycling into the Fair's waste management system requires more time and labor on the part of the Marshfield Fair Grounds staff, as well as assistance from volunteers. But the Fair Directors continue to embrace recycling because it is more environmentally responsible, gives a good public appearance, conserves resources and saves on disposal costs.