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Boston launches new recycling pilot program

April 24, 2019

Parks and Recreation

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Parks and Recreation

A new pilot program to increase recycling participation supports Boston's move towards Zero Waste

Boston residents and visitors will soon find it even easier to recycle right, thanks to a new public education campaign and efforts to expand recycling in city parks, households and in public spaces. Boston was recently selected as one of seven U.S. communities to receive a $250,000 grant for a community recycling pilot program from The Coca-Cola Foundation. This grant will support the Fund for Parks and Recreation in Boston and build on the City's ongoing efforts to improve access to recycling and encourage better recycling behaviors through how-to guides, informational materials and signage in multiple languages, website resources and mobile apps.

"When we look at the opportunities we have to reduce waste in Boston, increasing education and awareness about trash reduction and proper recycling is a top priority," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "We are proud to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation on a program that encourages residents and visitors to recycle right and furthers Boston's zero-waste goals.

The pilot program will bring recycling bins, signage and collection services to City parks to further expand the reach of recycling services in areas with high foot traffic.The City will soon receive 75 new recycling bins through the Keep America Beautiful/Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Program and will start collecting recyclable items in parks in the Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods this summer. Harambee Park and Franklin Park will be among the first parks that benefit from new recycling infrastructure.

"Our goal is to make it easier for people to recycle when they are out enjoying the City's natural resources," said Chris Cook, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Spaces. "In addition to increasing access to recycling in parks, we are introducing recycling at all special events and creating new Zero Waste guidance for park permit holders. Through this pilot program we're striving to collect at least 50,000 pounds of recyclable material, and in the process gather best practices for measurably improving recycling that can be scaled across the City."

Another goal of the program is to test and learn how to improve recycling in Boston Housing Authority properties, in the pilot communities of Dorchester and Mattapan through educational efforts and incentives. Focusing on these neighborhoods for new public space and household recycling initiatives will enable the City to evaluate techniques and determine the right combination of recycling access and education, public space bin placement and other infrastructure improvements that can serve as a model for the rest of the city.

"We hope this recycling pilot in Boston serves as a catalyst to drive increased recycling rates and help Boston achieve its ambitious objective of becoming a Zero-Waste city," said Helen Smith Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. "The Coca-Cola Foundation places a priority on helping communities become more sustainable by supporting innovative recycling solutions at a local level."

The City of Boston also encourages residents to utilize tools like the City's free "Trash Day" app. The app enables Boston residents to search a directory of hundreds of household items to find out the right way to dispose of them while on the go or at home. App users can also view a calendar for their home's collection dates, set reminders and get notifications of schedule changes.

Most recently the City launched a new citywide education campaign to encourage residents to recycle right. New signage and online materials will help Boston residents better understand what items are acceptable and what cannot be recycled, what kind of containers can be used to recycle, and when events are held for disposing of items like paint and motor oil or hazardous waste. The new campaign builds on the success of the recent "Bring Your Own Bag" campaign, which encourages residents to bring reusable bags when shopping in Boston because plastic bags are no longer allowed in retail stores. Last year, the City commissioned an advisory committee to develop recommendations for a zero waste plan for Boston and expects that process to be completed soon. The City's progress to date is an important milestone in reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.