Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Post-Halloween Pumpkin Composting!

This Saturday, 11/7/20, Melrose DPW is collecting pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns for composting! The event will run from 8 AM – 12 PM.

Please note that while we are able to accept pumpkins that have been painted, we are unable to accept pumpkins that have glitter on them.

If you are unable to come to the event to dispose of your pumpkin, please place them in the trash. They cannot be placed with yard waste.

Household Hazardous Waste Day

This Saturday October 24th 2020 from 8AM through 12PM Melrose DPW will be collection Household Hazardous Waste Materials. Due to COVID-19 we will be taking CHECKS only. Please have a check ready to go made out to ‘City of Melrose’ so that we can keep the lines moving as we expect a high turnout. All materials should be in the trunk of your vehicle and no items will be removed from backseats. Lastly, we cannot return any containers to you even after they are emptied.

More information on the event can be found in the flyer including pricing and permitted materials for drop-off!

Rigid Plastic and Styrofoam Event!

On Saturday 10/17/20 Melrose DPW will be collecting bulky rigid plastics and Styrofoam for a special Saturday recycling event. We are accepting large plastic items like lawn chairs, planting pots, laundry baskets, milk crates as well as old plastic toys. The only Styrofoam that will be accepted at this event is large packing Styrofoam. We will NOT be accepting egg cartons, meat trays, cups, plates or packing peanuts.

The Woes of Wish-Cycling

Recycling is an ever changing and dynamic process. This means that sometimes something that you may have always been putting in your curbside recycling bin can become prohibited. It can also mean that something with a recycling symbol or something that ‘seems’ recyclable is actually not recyclable in that way that we may think.

‘Wish-cycling” is a common word for this. We may hold something in our hands and think to ourselves; “this must be recyclable!” So, we put this in our curbside bin, hoping that we can recycle it, hoping that we are making the best decision. In reality, if you are really questioning something, odds are it likely cannot be recycled in your curbside bin. But, there may be other ways you can dispose of it without having to throw it in the trash. Wish-cycling is harmful in many ways. It wastes time, money and can even create more waste!

Time is wasted when the machines stop or are jammed by something that does not belong in them. These machines are designed to process certain items, when something new is added into the mix the machine will not process it properly. Money is wasted because workers need more time to fix machinery. An article by Earth 911 notes that about $250,000 is wasted annually due to wish-cycling. Finally, more waste is created by wish-cycling! When something that is not permitted to be recycled is spotted in a load of clean recyclables, the entire load is them thrown away and considered contaminated.

It can be difficult to know what to do with all of the items in your home, and even harder to have to throw something away when you want so badly for it to be able to be recycled.

If you ever wonder if something can be recycled, or what you can do with it if it isn’t recyclables you can call DPW at 781-665-0142 or check out the Recycle Smart Ma Recyclopedia.

Have you heard? Pizza Boxes are in!

Paper mills across the U.S. have now decided that pizza boxes are fully recyclable! Yes, this means both halves of the box including the side with cheese and grease. Did you know, according to Fibre Box Association, that there are about 3 billion pizza boxes used in the U.S. every year? That equals about 600,000 tons of material that can be recycled rather than wasted!

You’re not alone in thinking that pizza grease or even small cheese residue will cause damage to manufacturing. The Recycling Partnership has even noted that around 73% of municipalities do not have clear guidelines on recycling pizza boxes. But, new studies have found that the grease and cheese on the box (when in small quantities) will not cause any damage to machinery. AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock says, “corrugated (brown) pizza boxes are successfully recycled every day at paper mills throughout the country… so let’s be clear: consumers should not be concerned about grease or cheese – simply remove any leftover pizza and place the box in the recycle bin”. 

The recent call for consumers to recycle pizza boxes is due to COVID-19. This is because shipping and packaging needs have gone up so dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Pizza boxes can be broken down and turned into new cardboard which can be repurposed into shipping boxes.

So, next time you have pizza night, make sure to dump the leftovers and place your entire pizza box in your recycling bin!

Motor Oil, Gas & Antifreeze Event!

Don’t forget we have the motor oil, gas, and antifreeze event this Saturday 9/19 from 8-12 at City Yard! For this event we are taking CHECKS only. Your first two gallons are free and it is $2 a gallon after that.

Call us at 781-665-0142 with any questions.

Protect Clean Water, Wildlife, Pollinators, and YOU: Avoid Pesticides!

Pesticides are one of the most common culprits to water pollution. You might be asking yourself why. Well, during a storm, rain can carry pesticides on you lawn into the nearest storm drain where they flow – untreated – into your nearest river, stream or lake. As you can imagine these chemicals are not good for the plants, fish or wildlife in our water bodies, and they are not good for boaters or swimmers, either!

Furthermore, these pesticides and the chemicals in them are harmful to bees and other pollinators. The pesticides can seep into the groundwater and some are even linked to cancer. Due to overuse of these pesticides some pests are even becoming resistant to them, making them ineffective in more scenarios.


Wondering what you can do to help reduce water pollution via pesticides?

The most essential thing that you can do is avoid the need for pesticides when you can! The happier your plants are, the less susceptible they will be to pests or diseases.

Below are some other simple steps you can take to limit your need for pesticides –

  1. When you are purchasing plants, opt for plants or disease or pest-resistant. When you bring them home, be sure to plant them in areas that give them the sun and water requirements they prefer.
  2. The key to keeping your lawn healthy (and pesticide free) is healthy soil and good mowing and watering practices. Healthy lawns are rarely succumb to pests and disease and don’t need any regular pesticide applications.
  3. Water early in the morning and avoid spraying the leaves. Water in the morning and at the base of the plant to avoid mildew, fungus, black spot and other water-borne diseases.
  4. Avoid over-watering ! Excess irrigation can wash pollutants down a storm drain. Consider mulch on slopes or even rock barriers or trenches to prevent irrigation flowing into the nearest storm drain. Carrying pollutants with it.
  5. Use mulch! Mulch is great at keeping weeds down. It can also conserve water and keeps irrigation from flowing out of your yard and into the nearest storm drain. An Economical and efficient way to care for your plants.
  6. Plant at appropriate times. Planting in the spring and fall is preferable to planning in the summer when the plants will need to immediately tolerate extreme heat. Unhappy plants are more susceptible to pests and other diseases.
  7. Differentiate the ‘good’ bugs from the ‘bad’ bugs. Look into integrated pest control or biological controls, which allow you to purchase the ‘good’ bugs to eat your ‘bad’ bugs. Also learn to recognize situations where you can manually remove pests.
  8. Reconsider what is ‘bad’ about weeds. Is crabgrass really worth a pesticide application?
  9. Consider replacing your lawn with ground covers, perennials and shrubs. Once established, gardens require less fertilizer and pesticides!
  10. Plant ‘pair’ plants together. Certain species naturally thrive when planted alongside other species. This can help plants be more pest resistant because they work together to keep each other healthy!

For more information take a look at the Mystic River website! Or call the Engineering office at 781-979-0142. 

Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our waterways clean!

Fourth of July Hours

City Yard will be closed on Friday July 3rd, Saturday July 4th and Monday July 6th for the Fourth of July Holiday. Normal hours of operation will resume on Tuesday July 7th. Thank you for your understanding.

Please call the main office at 781-665-0142 with any questions.

Stormwater Management and Runoff Reduction

The City of Melrose has been implementing a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) to improve the water quality of the City’s ponds and streams, as well as downstream waterways. Detailed information regarding SWMP can be found on the City website.

For more information about this program, and the importance of stormwater management check out this video posted by Think Blue Massachusetts, an educational campaign to help residents and businesses do their part to reduce polluted runoff and keep our state’s lakes, rivers, and streams clean and healthy.

There are many areas of stormwater management, but the most important areas where you can help make valuable improvements is through fertilizer use, car washing as well as pet waste.


Rain washes fertilizer from your lawn into storm drains which then finds its way into ponds and lakes. This can cause algae and bacteria growth. Simply being mindful of the weather and rain patterns can reduce fertilizer damages!

Car Washing

When you wash your car, the dirty water (and even possibly some motor oil) will be washed down into local waterways. Try using a car wash or making sure your car has no leaks prior to washing it.

Pet Waste

When pet waste washes down into sewers, it can cause damages and harmful bacteria can find their way into local water sources. Always make sure you are picking up your pets waste and disposing of it properly.

For more information, or questions, please call the Engineering office at 781-979-4172 or email

What’s the Deal with Gardening Supplies?

It’s that time of year. Spring is here and lawn and garden care are in high swing. The nice weather, and social distancing, have given us all more time to spruce things up in our backyards. But, once we’re done with the planting and the seeds are watered, what do we do with the soil and fertilizer bags or the plastic nursery pots?

The shorts answer is that we cannot recycle the items. Despite some of them, plastic nursing pots specifically, having recycling symbols on them, they do not belong in your curbside bin. Plastic pots are actually considered a rigid plastic, and this type of plastic is hard for the recycling facilities to work with. Soil bags are typically still filled with some amount of soil when left curbside, and this can cause contamination of clean recyclables. The bags themselves are also just as dangerous as plastic grocery bags, they can clog up machinery and cause injury to workers.

What can you do with these items?

Soil and fertilizer bags should be thrown in your normal trash can. You can also use these bags for other things in your garden if you are able to clean them out enough. Some with handles can be used to store gardening materials!

Gardening chemicals that come in plastic jugs or bottles should NOT be placed in your recycling bin. The best thing to do with empty bottles is to fill them out with cold water and then use the water downed substance normally (meaning you can use this on your plants again). DO NOT dump the water down your drain, dump it outside. Repeat this process 2-3 times and then wrap the bottle in newspaper and throw it away. This should only be done with empty, registered products. If you have old, or unregistered pesticides or fertilizers, they should be saved for disposal at a hazardous waste day!

Finally, plastic planting pots. These are the most common offender in recycling bins. Despite them being plastic or having a recycling symbol, we will not take recycling with these pots inside. Instead you can reuse them at home or donate them to other friends who are gardeners. Home Depot does recycle these planting pots, so they can be brought to the gardening center at Home Depot locations. Please call ahead at this time to ensure this is still happening right now due to the current circumstances. Lastly, you can hold onto the pots and dispose of them at our rigid plastics event which is scheduled for October 17th 2020!

Thank you for your efforts to keep our recycling clean! If you have any questions please email