Archive for February, 2014

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Compost Bins and Rain Barrels Now on Sale!

The Department of Public Works is now selling rain barrels and compost bins. Due to the large demand last year, DPW is starting the sale early this year. These barrels and bins must be pre-ordered with checks by March 27.

Picture of flyer

The Earth Machine compost bin costs $43. Order forms, accompanied by payment (checks payable to the City of Melrose), are due March 27 at the Public Works Operations Facility on 72 Tremont Street. Order forms are available at here.

The SkyJuice rain barrel  costs $75. Order forms, accompanied by payment (checks payable to SkyJuice New England), are due March 27 at the Public Works Operations Facility on 72 Tremont Street. Order forms are available here. Alternatively, the SkyJuice rain barrels can be ordered online at here.

The pickup day for the bins and barrels is April 19 from 8 a.m. -12 p.m. at City Yard, 72 Tremont Street.

Rain barrels collect water that drains through your gutters and can be used to water your lawn and garden. Using rain barrels is an effective way to conserve water and save money on your water bill.

Compost bins are used to break down organic matter such as food scraps and yard waste. The bins help you reduce trash and also improve the health of your lawn and garden, save money on fertilizers and mulch, and preserve natural resources. Using fewer chemical fertilizers also helps protect the health of your family and pets.

The program is available for Melrose residents only. For more information about this program, contact Jessie Schmitt at or 781-665-0142.

School Textile Recycling Fundraiser Update

Since April of 2013, Melrose Public Schools has partnered with the Melrose DPW and Bay State Textiles, a textile recycling company, in a green rebate program where residents collect textile waste and schools receive $100 per ton.

Each year in the United States, 21 billion pounds of textiles are thrown away. 45% of these textiles can be reused, 30% can be turned into wiping clothes, and 20% recycled into new products.  More than 230,000 tons of usable textiles – including clothing, footwear, towels, bedding and other fabric-based products – were sent to landfills and incinerators in Massachusetts alone in 2010.

Melrose schools did their part by keeping over 55,000 pounds of torn clothing, ratty stuffed animals, faded curtains, and old pillows out of our waste stream from April through November of 2013 and earned the school PTOs $4150 in rebates and incentives provided by the vendor.  An additional 9,000 pounds has been collected in December and January.

Bay State Textiles of Pembroke, MA provided a bin for each school and picks up the materials once or twice a week depending on volume.  Items considered appropriate for placement in the bins include bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters, belts, boots, coats, curtains, draperies, dresses, flip-flops, hats, jackets, jeans, jerseys, pajamas, pants, purses, shirts, shoes, shorts, skirts, slippers, socks, stuffed animals, suits, sweaters, sweatpants sweatshirts, table linens, ties, T-shirts and undergarments.

This program is ongoing and if you wish to support the PTO efforts for this green fundraiser please stop by any of the 5 elementary schools, middle school and high school to drop off your unwanted textiles.

For more information about Bay State Textiles, please go to their website

For questions regarding the rebate program in Melrose, please contact Jessie Schmitt, Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator at, or Penny Xifaras Jones, PTO Textile Recycling Representative at

The PTO contest winners.

The PTO contest winners.

Letter to the Editor about Recycling Committee

Did you catch George Stubbs’s letter to the editor in the Melrose Free Press? The letter covered some history of Melrose’s recycling program and why residents should get involed in the Recycling Committee. Click here to read the article on the Free Press website or read it below.

Thanks to George and all the other Recycling Committee members, past and present, who have worked hard and made such an amazing impact on the city!

“To the editor:

Looking back over the past quarter century, recycling in Melrose has made substantial progress. In the early days, Melrose residents would drop off their recyclables at the Department of Public Works City Yard (now called the Public Works Operations Facility) on 72 Tremont St., where volunteers emptied trunks and sorted newspapers and brown, green, and clear glass into the proper barrels and bins.

A core group of recycling volunteers was typically joined by other volunteers from civic groups and the schools on these occasions, which mixed purpose with fun.

Today, of course, Melrose has a curbside program. Residents can leave Melrose Recycles bins or other clearly labeled bins on their curb with their discarded glass, cans, plastics, separately bagged paper, and flattened cardboard.

In addition, paper, cardboard, plastics and aluminum, books and clothing can be recycled in containers at the Public Works Operations Facility. CFL bulbs, batteries, eyeglasses, cell phones can also be dropped off inside the facility, which is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

And for several years now, the DPW and the Melrose Recycling Committee have hosted a household hazardous waste drop-off event in October. As a sign of the city’s commitment to recycling, it has hired a full-time solid waste and recycling coordinator — Melrose born and raised Jessica Schmitt, who has been on the job for over two years and whose dedication to and enthusiasm for recycling is unsurpassed.

Much of this progress in recycling over the years has been driven by the volunteer Melrose Recycling Committee — with, of course, the support, coordination, and leadership of our DPW. Volunteers often led efforts to educate the public about the available recycling program and to advance the state of the art here in our city, and they are still at the city yard to help on those drop-off days throughout the year.

The current pool of volunteers on the Melrose Recycling Committee is currently at its lowest level in years, for reasons that have nothing to do with anything other than the passage of time. People move on, often to other opportunities for public service to our city.

The Recycling Committee, however, could use an injection of renewed volunteer commitment, to participate in our city’s recycling events throughout the year, to support Jessie’s efforts to educate the public about recycling programs and opportunities and the benefits of recycling to our city, and to support her efforts to develop new programs that can expand recycling further.

I strongly urge anyone interested in participating in these efforts to contact Jessie at”

Winter Festival Tomorrow at Mt. Hood

The Winter Festival is tomorrow, February 20, from 12-2:30 p.m. at Mount Hood Golf Course. It’s free and open to all ages. There will be games, activities, entertainment, music, face painting, ice skating (weather permitting), snow shoeing, trail walking, s’mores, hot cocoa, and a huge free BBQ for all who attend.

The Melrose Recycles table will be there with free recycling stickers and information.

Additional Attractions

  • Master Ice Carver from Brookline Ice (block of ice)
  • Roaming Railroad will be on-site doing train rides
  • Vendor tables for parents to visit
  • Ice Fishing Demonstration

All parking for the event will be at Melrose Incarnation Church (Upham St.) with continuous shuttle bus service to Mt. Hood Club House (11:45am – 2:45pm). Please be sure to park at Incarnation Church as no event parking will be allowed at the golf course. There will be several shuttle buses running for the event so please take advantage of this service.

In partnership with: Mayor Robert Dolan, the Melrose Parks Commission, the Melrose Recreation Department, the Melrose Parks Department, and Golf Management Company, LLC.

Reminder: Trash and Recycling on Holiday Schedule

Curbside trash and recycling  pick up will be delayed one day this week due to the Presidents Day holiday. Therefore, Monday’s pick up will be made on Tuesday, and Tuesday’s pick up will be made on Wednesday and so on.

Mayor Dolan’s Snow Update: Dangerous Conditions Tonight

Dangerous conditions expected this evening; caution advised

A major winter storm is predicted for this evening that will be very harsh and quick.

  • A snow emergency has been called for 4 p.m. today. We are asking people to remain in their houses unless necessary tonight. Between 4 p.m. and midnight there could be periods of more than 2 inches of snow per hour and whiteout conditions. If this were to happen, there is the possibility that people will be temporarily stranded or will not be able to see while driving. Please use extreme caution and only drive when necessary during these hours.
  • A total on-street parking ban has been called for 9 p.m. this evening. That will allow DPW staff to clear the roads. The parking ban and the snow emergency will end at 8 a.m. tomorrow. This is due to the fact that the snow and the storm should move out by 2 a.m. We will have crews and all pieces of equipment out all night. The total accumulation will only be up to 8 inches, but it will all come during a 4-8 hour period.
  • All Recreation programs scheduled for after 5 p.m. on Saturday are canceled. Kindergarten basketball is canceled on Sunday.
  • If you have any snow-related problems or questions, please call the DPW’s Snow Operations Center at 781-665-0142. It will be staffed overnight and through Sunday morning.