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.

Snow Update

Mayor Dolan’s Snow Update:snow flags wind

We are expecting high winds and ice this evening, which means there is a risk that power lines may go down.

For power outages, please contact the Storm Operations Center at 781-665-0142.

Verizon’s critical number is 800-446-8946.

Comcast’s critical number is 800-556-9979 (pick option 3).

All plows are out. Please use extreme caution. The forecast at this time predicts that this storm will turn to rain, but we are right on the snow/rain line and that may not happen.

We will have a city-wide on-street parking ban beginning at 8 p.m.

There will be no school or recreation activities this evening, and the library will not be open this evening.

More snow on the way

Mayor Infurna's Blog

There’s a storm coming! The rain/snow line has not established itself yet. We seem to be right on the bubble on this one. The storm should hit during the morning commute.

At this time, the storm is anticipated to bring high winds along with snow, sleet, and rain, and we expect a difficult commute in the morning.

At this point we see no reason not to have school tomorrow, especially as we have used a number of snow days already. However, we do expect inclement weather during dropoff times, so please leave yourself plenty of time. I’m sure the dropoff zones will be full of traffic.

Stay tuned to this blog, MMTV, and local media to stay up to date on whether there will be school.

There will be no delay in trash or recycyling pickup, and there is no parking ban at this time.

The City Yard Operations Center…

View original post 42 more words

Your FAQs Answered: Part 1

faq guyEvery day our DPW Resident Service Office receives many calls about trash and recycling. Last year, I answered some of the most common questions and I am doing it again this year with some new questions and along with a couple reminders from last year.

Do you have more questions? Send them to me and I’ll post them here in FAQs: Part 2.

1. Why recycle?

Recycling has many benefits for the city and the environment. By recycling, you not only divert waste from landfills and incinerators but also save the energy and resources needed to create new products. You’re also decreasing the amount of energy used to transport and process waste.

In addition, by removing tonnage from waste stream (which we pay to dispose of), recycling (which we sell in the commodity markets) creates an important source of revenue and this money can be used to fund City programs thus providing our department and the services we provide an opportunity to remain sustainable. Last but not least, recycling creates jobs. According to the EPA, recycling generates 10 times more jobs per ton of waste than landfills and incinerators.

2. What kinds of cardboard can be recycled?

All corrugated cardboard- such as packing boxes – and paperboard items-such as cereal boxes- can go in the recycling bin unless they are contaminated with food. Rip off the soiled part of the cardboard or paperboard, put it in the trash and place the clean part in the recycling bin. Please do not place trash inside of cardboard boxes for curbside collection. Due to DEP waste ban regulations, this type of item can not be collected as trash (because of the cardboard box) or recycled as cardboard (because of the trash).

3. What do I do with big items such as a mattress, wooden dresser or couch?

Mattresses, wooden dressers and couches are considers bulky items. Residents can place one bulky item curbside per week.

4. How do I get rid of electronics such as TVs and computers?

Electronics can be dropped off at our City Yard Recycling Center Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Saturday recycling events and curbside with a sticker. Some items such as TVs and computers have a fee. Come into the Resident Service Office for directions  on both disposal options. Electronics can also be dropped off at Best Buy for free. Check out their website here.

5. Everything that has a recycling symbol can go in my recycling bin, right?

No. Some items such as plastic bags and Styrofoam have recycling symbols on them but cannot go in your curbside recycling bin. Plastic bags can be dropped off at local grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Shaw’s. The DPW also hosts annual events to recycle plastic bags and Styrofoam. Look at the recycling events calendar here.