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City of Boston introduces new recycling carts made of ocean bound plastics

The Ocean Core cart is made from a groundbreaking 40 percent post-consumer recycled material, 10 percent of which is recycled ocean bound plastic found near lakes, beaches, and waterways leading to the ocean.

To celebrate Earth Day and build on the administration’s goals for a greener, more sustainable city, Mayor Kim Janey today announced a partnership between the City of Boston and the Rehrig Pacific Company to supply residents with Ocean Core recycling carts engineered with reusable ocean bound plastics. The Public Works Waste Reduction Division is looking to distribute 10,000 new carts over the next two years. 


Mayor Janey is joined by Brian Coughlin, Superintendent of Waste Reduction with the Public Works Department.

“As Mayor of a coastal city that cherishes its surrounding waterways, Boston is proud to be at the forefront of this technology,” stated Mayor Kim Janey. “By distributing recycling carts composed of reusable ocean bound plastics, we’re taking another step in our pursuit to become a zero waste city, and to ensure Boston is healthy and sustainable for future generations.”  

The Ocean Core cart is made from a groundbreaking 40 percent post-consumer recycled material, 10 percent of which is recycled ocean bound plastic found near lakes, beaches, and waterways leading to the ocean. Recent studies have shown that there is far more plastic waste in the Atlantic Ocean than previously thought. With Ocean Core carts, Boston will reuse the equivalent of 61 miles of 2-liter bottles stretched end-to-end. That’s the equivalent of running the Boston Marathon nearly two and a half times over. 

The Public Works Department will introduce the new Ocean Core carts to residents who have a broken or damaged cart in need of replacement. Requests for a new cart should be submitted through 311, the City’s 24-hour constituent hotline. 

“As the first City in the nation using this new innovative technology, Boston is leading the way for other municipalities across the country to acknowledge the importance of addressing environmental issues today that will impact us tomorrow,” stated Public Works Superintendent of Waste Reduction Brian Coughlin. “Today’s announcement on Earth Day symbolizes the dedication that we as a City have towards achieving our zero waste goals.” 

The rollout of the Ocean Core cart is another step the City of Boston is taking to reduce its carbon footprint and support the health and wellbeing of the region. Released in 2019, Boston’s first-ever Zero Waste Plan included 30 near- and long-term strategies to divert at least 80 percent of the City’s waste from landfills and municipal solid waste combustors by 2035. By implementing the strategies, Boston will reduce trash, and increase recycling and composting by about 638,000 tons per year or 55 percent. This would increase Boston’s overall recycling rate from approximately 25 percent to 80 percent. 

The City of Boston continues to encourage residents to utilize tools like the City’s free Trash Day App. The app enables 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, get notifications of schedule changes, and locate the nearest textile dropbox in their neighborhood. 

In addition to textiles, roughly 30 percent of what gets put into the trash in Boston is compostable. Boston has expanded its leaf and yard waste curbside collection program from 17 to 20 weeks a year. The City is offering 20 additional weekends where yard waste can be dropped off at the Public Works composting facility on American Legion Highway. All residential yard waste is turned into compost and distributed to City Gardens and Boston Parks and Recreation Department greenhouses. Leaf and yard waste curbside collection begins this year on Monday, April 26. 

Boston residents can also safely dispose of hazardous waste, shred unwanted documents, discard textiles and recycle electronics for free at a series of Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off events

About the Public Works Department: 

The Boston Public Works Department (PWD) provides core services essential to neighborhood quality of life. PWD directs general construction, maintenance, and cleaning of approximately 802 miles of roadways throughout the City. PWD operates two major drawbridges, maintains 68,055 street lights, and supervises contracts for the removal and disposal of approximately 190,000 tons of solid waste. They operate Boston's recycling program with an annual diversion of approximately 45,000 tons. Follow them on Twitter @BostonPWD.

Environment Zero Waste Boston
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