Waste Free Wednesday – A Success!

Kids poster 1The Melrose Veteran’s Memorial Middle School held its first “Waste Free Wednesday” on March 4. The goal of the event was for students to learn how their behaviors can make a huge difference in saving our planet’s valuable resources. Chartwells (Melrose’s school dining services company) provided compostable lunch trays (instead of Styrofoam trays) and Whole Foods Market Melrose took the food scraps and trays to be composted. A permanent donation station was set up for uneaten foods such as apples, bananas and packaged foods (i.e. granola bars). These items will be collected by Lovin’ Spoonfuls weekly to be donated to organizations in the Boston area.

The Green Team students conducted a waste audit the week before “Waste Free Wednesday” to gather baseline data and then weighed all waste containers on the day of the event. The students analyzed the data collected and were shocked by the results. They determined that 75% of all the waste created (trash, recycling, food waste, liquids, donations etc.) could be diverted out of the trash. Therefore, of all waste weighed only 25% was actually trash!

Because this event was so successful, the Green School Solutions Committee is planning to hold another one next month.

MVMMS Waste Audit Group Picture

Green Team Students at the Waste Audit

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Green Team Students Conducting the Waste Audit of Cafeteria Trash

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Green Team Student, Kathleen, Tracking Weight Data

 

Donation Station Food 1

Food Donations for Lovin’ Spoonfuls

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Waste Free Stations included containers for recyclable utensils, bottles and cans recycling, liquids, food waste, compostable trays and trash.

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Whole Foods Market donated recyclable utensils.

 

Anyone can participate in the waste free lunch days! When you pack your lunch or your family members’ lunch try to pack waste free items. If you participate, be sure to send a picture to jschmitt@cityofmelrose.org to posted on Melrose’s Recycling Facebook page.

Some ideas for packing waste free lunches:

A resident packed a waste free lunch to bring to work!

A Melrose resident packed a waste free lunch to bring to work and sent us this picture!

Include:
· Sandwiches in reusable containers
· Whole fruits without packaging
· Drinks in containers that can be reused
· Snacks purchased in bulk and brought in reusable containers

Don’t Include:
· Individually wrapped snacks
· Plastic baggies that are not reusable
· Disposable forks and spoons

 

 


 

Waste Free Wednesday sponsored by:

Lovin SpoonfulsWFM Melrose Logo (3) Chartwells logo

 

This event was organized by the student Green Team club and the Green School Solutions Committee. For more information and learn how to get involved, contact the Green School Solutions Committee at jschmitt@cityofmelrose.org.

Melrose’s Recycling Program in 2014

MR_LogoSmallThe City of Melrose was nominated for the 20th Annual MassRecycle Awards this year. Unfortunately, Melrose was not chosen as a finalist but you can read the nomination narrative below for a summary of Melrose’s recycling program in 2014.

The City of Melrose achieved significant progress in recycling and waste reduction in 2014 through several new and expanded initiatives.  Key program elements included:

  • Major improvement in curbside recycling by transitioning from bi-weekly dual-stream pickup to weekly single-stream pickup
  • Expanded multi-channel resident education program
  • Growth in citizen involvement in recycling through the volunteer Melrose Recycling Committee
  • Formation of the Green School Solutions Committee to implement recycling solutions for community schools
  • A strong community events program

Results achieved through these programs include:

  • 5% increase in the municipal recycling rate
  • Increased community awareness and engagement
  • 1,500 pounds of mattresses recycled
  • Increased recycling in three schools
  • 13 events and programs

In September 2014, Melrose launched a major new program—the transition from bi-weekly ???????????????????????????????dual-stream pickup to weekly single-stream pickup, while implementing a trash limit. Utilizing two technical assistance grants from MassDEP, the Melrose Department of Public Works (DPW) was able to demonstrate the benefits of this transition to Mayor Rob Dolan and the Melrose Board of Alderman. The program has been overwhelmingly successful, with a 5% increase in the city’s recycling rate since September 2014. Also, the added convenience of the program is positively changing Melrose residents’ attitudes towards recycling.

Melrose also used the expanded curbside recycling program as the centerpiece of a resident engagement/education plan, including the following initiatives:

  • Distributing over 6,000 recycling stickers in four months
  • Creating and mailing a “Trash and Recycling Guidelines” pamphlet to each resident (not done in over five years)
  • Publishing many articles in the local newspapers
  • Expanding the social media program, including nearly doubling the readership of the monthly Recycling e-Newsletter; increasing traffic and nearly 100 more “likes” on the Melrose Recycling and Solid Waste Facebook page; and creating a Melrose DPW Twitter account
  • DPW’s production of two education videos, available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq7jdUpAq7q2u-d72qdNgTw) and on Melrose’s local cable station.

Citizen Involvement: Melrose Recycling Committee (MRC)

The volunteer MRC grew considerably in 2014, with five new members and new projects. Achievements included the creation of a website (https://melrecyclingcommittee.wordpress.com/) featuring event updates, a photo gallery, bi-monthly blog posts, and the “Recyclopedia” – a list of how to dispose of various items. The committee also joined Sustainable Melrose (SM), a coalition of ten civic groups. The MRC played a large role in SM’s first presence at the annual Healthy Melrose Fair, making it the city’s first “zero waste” event.

In 2014, MRC organized Swap Day, a community reuse event (detailed below), and it visibly supported the proposed Massachusetts Bottle Bill expansion through letters to local newspapers and other activities.

With its new members and strong momentum, the committee’s current initiatives focus on reducing food waste, increasing recycling at businesses and apartments, increasing school recycling, and reducing the use of disposable bags.

Robust Community Events Program

DPW planned eight events to provide recycling options for the following: Styrofoam, plastic bags, metal items, electronics, mattresses, rigid plastic, paper shredding, and hazardous waste. New events included mattress recycling, in partnership with United Teen Equality Center, and a paint swap day. The mattress recycling event provided the first opportunity to recycle mattresses in Melrose and resulted in the diversion of 1,500 pounds of mattresses from the waste stream. With MRC, the DPW also had a presence at four community events—Sally Frank’s Farmers Market, the Winter Festival, the Melrose Victorian Fair, and the Healthy Melrose Fair. The DPW and the MRC also partnered with the Melrose Human Rights Commission to run a litter cleanup for the community’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

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Melrose’s Second Annual Swap DaySwap 9 Volunteers was a huge hit, with over 20 volunteers and 300 residents attending! Items swapped included clothes, shoes, books, sports equipment, household items, and kitchen supplies.  All items not swapped were donated to Goodwill and other charitable organizations. Run by the DPW and the MRC in partnership with Birth to Five and the Friends of the Melrose Public Library, Swap Day will be an annual community event providing an opportunity to save reusable items from the trash and give them a new life.

Green School Solutions Committee

The Green School Solutions Committee (GSSC) formed in 2014 to aid schools in their sustainability efforts. The GSSC consists of the DPW and parents working in collaboration with the Middle School Green Team, school staff, the MRC, and local organizations and businesses.

In 2014, the GSSC supported the student-led Green Team (GT) club in an effort to install water bottle filling stations in the school to reduce plastic bottle waste. Since the installation in May, the stations have saved over 20,000 plastic bottles from being wasted! The students held a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the stations were installed (picture attached)—guests included Mayor Dolan, school officials, local politicians, and project donors—and they received significant media coverage, both locally and online (http://becausewater.org/bottle-filling-stations/bottle-filling-stations-newest-trend-school/) for their waste reduction achievements. Mayor Dolan was so impressed by the students’ work that a filling station is being installed in City Hall this spring. Stations are also being installed at Melrose High School and at two elementary schools.

Green Team ribbon cutting 1

This year, the GT students are working on two projects: food waste reduction and gardening. The food waste projects include the city’s first composting pilot and the first program for donating uneaten food (to Lovin’ Spoonfuls). Also, the students are building the city’s first hydroponic garden in their school.

MVMMS Waste Audit Group Picture 2

Green fundraising has increased in all eight of Melrose’s public schools, exceeding $6,000 in a year and a half. All eight schools have BayState Textile recycling boxes, and three schools have book recycling boxes.

Styrofoam Recycling Event: March 21

Styrofoam Event March 15, 2014Melrose Department of Public Works will hold a Styrofoam recycling event on Saturday, March 21 at the DPW Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street from 8:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m. This event enables residents to recycle Styrofoam, which is a difficult product to recycle and cannot be placed in curbside recycling. ReFoamIt will collect the Styrofoam to be recycled.

Some of the items that will be accepted include: packing blocks, produce and meat trays, take out containers, hot cups from stores such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Honey Dew Donuts, and foam egg cartons. Most items need to have the recycling symbol on them. Visit www.refoamit.com for a full list of acceptable items.

Acceptable Items 2015

This is a free event and open to Melrose and Stoneham residents.

The items collected at all Saturday recycling events include: CRTs including TVs, monitors and lap tops ($10-$15), electronics, CFL bulbs, books, clothes, tires ($2-$8), mercury items, dried latex paint and metal items ($20) including microwaves, air conditioners, refrigerators, sofa beds, recliners, and exercise equipment. Recycling Center stickers and recycling barrel label stickers will also be available.
For a listing of additional events or for more information and questions, please visit the Melrose Recycles Blog at melroserecycles.wordpress.com or call 781-665-0142. To learn more about the volunteer Recycling Committee, visit their website at melrecyclingcommittee.wordpress.com.

Waste Free Wednesday at the Middle School

The Melrose Veteran’s Memorial Middle School is hosting its first “Waste Free Wednesday” tomorrow! The goal of the Waste Free Wednesday event is for students to learn how their behaviors can make a huge difference in saving our planet’s valuable resources. Chartwells (Melrose’s school dining services company) is providing compostable lunch trays (instead of Styrofoam trays) and Whole Foods is taking the food scraps and trays to be composted. There will also be a donation station for uneaten foods such as apples, bananas and packaged foods (i.e. granola bars). The food will be taken by Lovin’ Spoonfuls to be donated to organizations in the Boston area.

Even if you don’t have a student at the middle school, you can participate in the waste free day too! When you pack your lunch or your family members’ lunch try to pack waste free items. Some ideas for packing waste free lunches:

Include:
· Sandwiches in reusable containers
· Whole fruits without packaging
· Drinks in containers that can be reused
· Snacks purchased in bulk and brought in reusable containers
· Reusable ice pack
Don’t Include:
· Individually wrapped snacks
· Plastic baggies that are not reusable
· Disposable forks and spoons

This event is organized by the student Green Team club and the Green School Solutions Committee. For more information, contact the Green School Solutions Committee at jschmitt@cityofmelrose.org.

WFM Melrose Logo (3)Lovin SpoonfulsChartwells logo

Sunday’s Snow Update

Originally posted on Mayor Dolan's Blog:

Melrose has received 15 inches of snow. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The parking ban will remain in all areas of the city until tomorrow morning. This includes business districts.
  • The snow is scheduled to stop in the next few hours; however, we are asking you not to drive in the city unless it is absolutely necessary. Wind gusts will remain up to 40 mph, making visibility a concern as well as snow drifts, which will make plowing very difficult. Please give DPW the space it needs to deal with this storm throughout the day, even after the snow stops.
  • Most side streets are now down to a single lane, due to the fact that there is no place to put snow. Please drive slowly and with courtesy.
  • Do not blow snow into the streets. You will be causing a public safety problem, and this will be enforced.
  • Tomorrow…

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Trash & Recycling Collection Delayed

Trash and recycling collection will be on holiday schedule this week due to the snow storm. Therefore, all collections will be delayed one day. Monday’s collection will be on Tuesday, Tuesday’s collection will be on Wednesday and so on.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. For all snow-related issues, please call the DPW Snow Operations Center at 781-665-0142.

Important Snow Message from Mayor Dolan

Originally posted on Mayor Dolan's Blog:

Right now, we have almost 50 inches of snow on the ground, which is the largest total over a 10-day period in the history of greater Boston, including Melrose. It is going to take the City several days to get life fully back to normal. The roads are clear, sidewalk plows are completing their routes, and our DPW staff continues to work tirelessly around the clock. Here are some unavoidable facts:

Challenges

  1. It’s February 3, it’s extremely cold, and this snow is not going away. Therefore, we are going to have to adjust in many ways, as a community, to this reality.
  2. All of our roads are incredibly narrow, because, like on your own property, there is simply no place to push the snow. In many cases, that will continue to be true.
  3. There is a tremendous amount of snow piled up on corners, making visibility challenging. There are tens…

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