Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day Melrose!  Earth-Day-ImagesNext Wednesday, April 22 is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate, here are some earth-friendly things you can do all year long as well as some upcoming events right here in Melrose:

Get to know the organizations that make up Sustainable Melrose at the upcoming Healthy Melrose Fair on May 2 from 10:00am – 2:00pm at Melrose Athletic Complex, 360 Lynn Fells Parkway.

Volunteer for one of the Sustainable Melrose member groups and work on positive change in your community.

sustainable-melrose-booth at victorian fair

Reduce your waste! Follow the Melrose Recycles Blogsign up to receive the Melrose Recycles e-newsletter and commit to reducing your waste by reusing and recycling more! Use reusable bags instead of plastic or paper, pack a waste free lunch for you and your family, recycle textiles and compost food scraps. Have other household items that someone else can reuse? Drop them at Swap Day on September 26th.
Swap 9 Volunteers

Still recovering from the increase in electric rates this winter?  Get a no-cost MassSave home energy assessment and learn how to save energy in your home.  Sign up with Next Step Living or MassSave.  Well over 1,000 of your Melrose neighbors have already taken this step and many have added insulation in their homes using the generous MassSave incentives.

Starting to think about your garden?  Native plants are in tune with our New England environment and attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial wildlife.  See how and all the reasons why at Grow Native Massachusetts.

Participate in Earth Day Worship on April 19 at First Congregational Church, 121 W. Foster Street. Earth focused worship is at 10am, followed by a coffee hour talk at 11am where energy efficiency improvements made to the church will be presented. We look forward to sharing what has changed, how it impacts our energy usage and ways you can make similar improvements to your own home, workplace or organization.

Take a hike in the nearby Fells Middlesex Reservation or in any number of Melrose Conservation Commission trails.  Check out the Melrose Open Space and Trail Map Pocket Guide.

SpotPond_3104_S (1)

Go Solar Melrose!  Check out the energy production in real-time from the 351kW solar photovoltaic installation on the high school and middle school.  Join the more than 120 Melrose homeowners who have chosen clean energy.  Check out the online solar marketplace at Energy Sage.

Buy local – Mark June 11th on your calendar to buy from local farms: Opening day for the Sally Frank’s Farmers’ Marketdicks-market-garden

Trash & Recycling On Holiday Schedule Next Week

The Public Works Department reminds residents that there will be no curbside collection on Monday, April 20 due to the Patriot’s Day holiday. Curbside collection of recycling and trash will be on a holiday schedule with a one day delay starting Tuesday, April 21. Therefore, Monday’s trash and recycling routes will be picked up Tuesday and Tuesday’s trash and recycling routes will be picked up on Wednesday and so on.

Curbside Yard Waste Pickup Begins Next Week

The DPW provides various opportunities to dispose of yard waste including curbside pickup and drop off at the DPW Recycling Center on 72 Tremont Street. Curbside pickup begins next week and the calendar of yard waste pickups can be viewed here. Place yard waste on the curb on your collection day by 7 a.m.

To ensure that the compost process is done correctly, there are some yard waste guidelines for residents to follow.

Yard Waste Bag and BarrelYard waste includes leaves, grass and small brush under 1 inch diameter. Yard waste does not include dirt.

To prepare yard waste to be collected curbside it needs to be placed in barrel or bag under 45 gallons and 45 pounds. Barrels need to be clearly labeled and stickers are available at 72 Tremont Street. Brown paper bags are acceptable but yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected.

There is a ten barrel and/or bag maximum. The bag and barrel limits are in place for the safety of the DPW employees and the capacity of the yard waste trucks.

Yard Waste Drop OffResidents can also drop off yard waste at the Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. 3 p.m. through December 12. This yard waste drop off is available to Melrose residents only, noy commercial vehicles. Cars must have a Recycling Center sticker on their car to enter the center. The stickers are available for free at the Resident Service Office at 72 Tremont Street.

Paper Shredding Event: April 18

On Saturday, April 18, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. there will be a paper shredding recycling drop off event at the Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street. Residents can bring two boxes for free and five dollars for each additional box (checks only).


The items collected at all Saturday recycling events include: CRT’s (televisions, monitors, and lap tops), CFL bulbs, tires, mercury items, textiles, books, dried latex paint, metal items (microwaves, air conditioners, refrigerators, sofa beds, recliners, and exercise equipment). Some items have a fee that helps defray the expenses associated with properly recycling the materials (checks only). Recycling Center stickers and recycling barrel label stickers will also be available.

DPW Recycling Center Opens for Spring

The Public Works Department Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street will be open Saturdays starting April 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for drop off of yard waste, recyclables (including plastic, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard), books, textiles, CFL bulbs and propane tanks. The Recycling Center will continue to be open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Yard Waste Drop Off

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


Green Team Students Conducting the Waste Audit of Cafeteria Trash



Green Team Student, Kathleen, Tracking Weight Data


Donation Station Food 1

Food Donations for Lovin’ Spoonfuls


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


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!

· 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.

photo 4 (7)

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.


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