Archive for April, 2015

Compost Bins & Rain Barrels on Sale

Melrose DPW is holding its annual rain barrel and compost bin sale.

The Earth Machine compost bins are on sale for $43. Reserve your bin here by May 10. Once the payment system is ready, you will be emailed requesting payment.

The SkyJuice rain barrels cost $75. Barrels can be ordered online here and payments are due by May 10.

The pickup day for the bins and barrels is Saturday, May 16 from 8 a.m. -12 p.m. at DPW Recycling Center, 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.

Earth MachineCompost 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. For more information about composting and food waste, go to the compost page on the Recycling Committee’s website.

For more information about this program, contact Jessie Schmitt at or 781-665-0142.

Waste Free Wednesday!

The Melrose Veteran’s Memorial Middle School is hosting its second “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 is also a permanent donation station for uneaten foods such as apples, bananas and packaged foods (i.e. granola bars). The food is taken weekly by Lovin’ Spoonfuls to be donated to organizations in the Boston area.

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

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

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. If you participate, be sure to send a picture to to be posted on Melrose’s Recycling Facebook page.

Some ideas for packing waste free lunches:

· 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:

WFM Melrose Logo (3)Lovin Spoonfuls GSS Color LogonewChartwells logo

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

Ell Pond Green & Clean Day

Ell Pond Clean up flyer

2015 Recycling Events Calendar

Melrose’s 2015 Recycling Events Calendar includes some popular events from years past along with a few new ones. For the first time, Melrose is partnering with Stoneham on two events in order to provide residents with more opportunities to dispose of hazardous items. The Hazardous Waste Day held at Stoneham High School on May 30 is from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and is open to both Melrose and Stoneham residents.

Melrose’s Saturday recycling drop off events are held at the DPW Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. The items collected at all events (besides Swap Day) include: CRT’s including televisions, monitors and lap tops ($10-$15), electronics, CFL bulbs, books, clothes, tires ($2-$8), mercury items, dried latex paint and metal goods ($20). Recycling Center stickers and recycling label stickers will be available.

Rain barrels can be ordered on SkyJuice’s website until May 10. Compost bins will be available for sale soon. Residents will pick up their pre-ordered barrels and bins on Saturday, May 16 between 8:00 a.m. to noon. No barrels or bins will be sold day of event.

If there is an event you think DPW should host, please email

2015 calendar draft 4

Healthy Melrose Fair: May 2

Healthy Melrose Fair Logo 2015For the second consecutive year, Sustainable Melrose, a coalition of civic organizations that are working to make Melrose a more livable, environmentally sustainable, and healthy community, will be participating in the Healthy Melrose Fair, to be held on May 2 on the athletic field next to the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School.

Several of the Sustainable Melrose groups will be organizing their presentations at the fair around a specific theme—the reduction of food waste. Estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that we may waste as much as 40% of the food we buy, whether it’s by purchasing too much, not using up food in time, or cooking too much and not eating the leftovers. Yet there are several ways to reduce food waste—by composting the food scrap generated in the kitchen, or by shopping smarter, or by planning meals that more effectively use up some food that would otherwise be tossed. Food packaging is also a big part of our kitchen waste, and there are ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle that material as well.

People attending the Healthy Melrose Fair will be able to learn more about composting and other ways to improve their food waste management from a number of the groups that are part of Sustainable Melrose. Members of these organizations will be able to provide a broad range of information that will take you from the grocery store to your kitchen and out into your yard.

Sally Frank’s Farmers’ Market will provide information on the soil cycle and instruction on how to make healthy soil. The group will also be giving away lettuce seedlings. Melrose Native will present a composting demonstration and will look beyond the compost bin to show what’s happening in your yard, identifying steps you can take to make it a healthier environment for your flowers and to provide habitat for native plants and birds.

Community Gardens will have demonstrations on composting and on how to make soup stock from kitchen scrap that might ordinarily be thrown away. The group will also be offering seed packets from its new seed library, presenting a poster showing what types of food scrap can be composted, and raffling a kitchen compost pail. At the Melrose Recycling Committee booth, visitors will be able to participate in a quiz focused on food waste and composting—and enter into a raffle to win a composting bin. The committee will also invite visitors to take a food waste challenge, to see if they can match or better the kitchen waste management practices of one of the committee members. And the Middle School’s Green Team will be displaying its hydroponic garden tower and presenting the results of recent efforts to reduce food waste at the Middle School cafeteria.

Other Sustainable Melrose organizations that will be hosting booths at the fair will be the following: The Unitarian Universalist Church’s Green Sanctuary Committee, which will be showing short films, such as “The Story of Stuff”; Friends of the Fells Middlesex Fells Reservation, which will be sponsoring a “letterbox” activity modeled on the program it offers in the Middlesex Fells Reservation; the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee; the Melrose Conservation Commission; and the Melrose Energy Commission.

Once again this year, the Healthy Melrose Fair will be a zero waste and net zero energy event. Mass Energy Consumers Alliance will green the fair by matching the electricity usage with 100% clean, local wind power. To learn more about Mass Energy’s 100% federally tax-deductible Green Power Programs and how they support the development of more clean energy projects in Massachusetts, please visit the Melrose Energy Commission booth.

Sustainable Melrose was formed in 2013 when several civic organizations saw an opportunity to share their special areas of knowledge, skills, and interests. By working together under the Sustainable Melrose umbrella, these organizations are striving to raise awareness of and support for our shared community responsibilities in environmental stewardship, social wellbeing, and economic prosperity over the long term. All of the Sustainable Melrose groups at the fair will be able to discuss their ongoing initiatives and will welcome any volunteers who would like to contribute. Come to the Healthy Melrose Fair on May 2 and learn how you can help to make Melrose a healthier, more livable, and prosperous place to be.

Environmental Justice Film Series

The Melrose UU Church Green Sanctuary Committee and Sustainable Melrose have organized a spring Environmental Justice Film Series. All films are free and open to the public.

The first film in the series is Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds which illuminates what is at stake and what can be done to protect the source of nearly all our food: SEEDS. It will be held on Saturday April 25 from 2:00-5:00 pm at the Melrose Public Library. Seating is limited.

Following the film there will be a special presentation by Gosia Lozinska of the Melrose Community Garden Group, and tour of the new Seed Library. Learn more about how to plant, grow and harvest from seeds.

Seeds are of the world’s most precious resources is at risk. Seeds provide the basis for everything from fabric, to food to fuels. Seeds are as essential to life as the air we breathe or water we drink…but given far less attention. Approximately 90% of the fruit and vegetable varieties that existed 100 years ago no longer exist today. Seeds that were lovingly nurtured over decades have been lost forever. Maintaining seed biodiversity allows us to breed new varieties that are resistant to pests or thrive in temperature extremes.

Save the dates for the other films in the series!

  • Saturday, May 2 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Story of Stuff at the Healthy Melrose Fair at the Melrose Athletic Complex
  • Saturday, May 16 7-9 p.m. Oil and Water at Melrose UU Church
  • Saturday, June 20 6-9 p.m. Truck Farm at Melrose Public Library

Film Series Poster

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.