Congratulations to the Winners of the 20th Annual Recycling Awards! The People have voted, the scores tallied, and we have 6 award recipients. It was very close in every category! In one category, the winner and runner-up were separated by a mere seven votes! All the nominees should be proud of their work and try again next year.
Heather Pillis, as a volunteer, took on the enormous task of coordinating Ipswich's pilot Curbside Composting program, a private pay food collection pilot that is now in its 3rd year with over 400 households participating and growing. She was the key member in the team that architected the pilot. She worked with DPW and the Recycling Committee to secure a contractor and composting site, identify, build and grow the collection route, promote the program, sign-up participants and manage the money. She is the day-to-day manager of this program and the go-to-person for the collection vendor, participants and the Town. To this day, she handles all questions, does outreach and maintains contact with the 400 plus participating households, the hauler and the compost facility. Check out her three easy steps for composting flyer and her supplies for composting flyer. Plus she manages a Facebook site to push out information; check out the Facebook page here. Participants comment on the "great attitude" and "unfailing effort" of the awesome "Compost Lady." Her efforts result in the diversion of over 300 pounds of waste weekly from Ipswich's waste stream, which translates to almost 8 tons annually.
City of Salem
SalemRecycles, an official committee of the City of Salem, has worked since 2008 to institute new recycling requirements and educate Salem's 43,000 citizens by expanding the meaning of recycling through fun, community-wide events. The Committee runs semi-annual free book swaps, an annual textile drive which last year collected 6.7 tons of textiles, and an annual springtime Swap and Drop on the historic Salem Common. The City has monthly e-waste recycling and works with North Shore Recycled Fibers to provide free document shredding, collect hard plastics too big for curbside, and pay per pound for approved metal items. The City launched a compost program and currently has over 800 participating households. Recently, the City placed 70 butt bins all over the downtown area, which are diverted to Terracycle regularly. SalemRecycles ensures these efforts are successful by partnering with the Mayor and many other local organizations, by making sure the events are fun, and through extensive outreach via their website, a monthly blog, Facebook, a monthly newsletter, notices, videos and more. Check out one of SalemRecycles' flyers here and Salem's website here.
Danvers School District
In 2012, Danvers conducted a Pilot Elementary School Recycling Program, supported by a grant from MassDEP. With an $18,000 grant awarded in 2013, the District built on that pilot with a multi-phase program. At each of the seven schools, a Recycling Committee, consisting of a Public Works Coordinator, a hauler, the principal, a student council coordinator, teachers, custodians, kitchen staff and parents, was established. Based on committee recommendations, each school added additional toters and dedicated cardboard dumpsters, ensured that each classroom had a dedicated paper and a comingled bin, placed bins in hallways, and placed pour off buckets and recycling bins in cafeterias. Student Green Teams are being formed at each school to continue educating students. Elementary students are putting on skits, running a rally, and sending flyers home with a pledge. The middle school Green Team worked with the student newsletter to record a PSA; check the PSA out here. The District also continues pushing out information in its Daily News email, morning announcements, flyers and more. Check out Danver's report on the progress the schools have made.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
After beginning single‐stream recycling in 2008, despite enrollment increases and a 55% increase in gross square footage, UMass Lowell decreased solid waste by 46%, increased single‐stream recycling by 201%, and increased their total diversion rate by 29%. The University also worked with Dining Services and Casella to launch a food waste diversion program. With impetus from the students, pre-consumer waste is composted in all dining locations, and post-consumer waste is composted at the two largest residential dining halls. To date, UMass Lowell has composted 319,541 lbs. of food waste plus donated 5,680 lbs. of unused food through a student group. A portion of the compost generated comes back for use in campus community gardens and on the grounds; fresh produce and herbs from the community gardens are donated to local shelters. This past Spring, the University also launched a move-out donation program, collecting 3,437 pounds of reusable and recyclable goods. An additional 396 pounds were collected in the Fall, and these goods will be used during a "Stuff Swap" during Earth Day. UMass Lowell also expanded on its rigorous recycling for in-house electronics by offering containers around campus to collect and recycle the community's small electronics and batteries. On January 1, 2015, UMass Lowell launched its first ever Office of Sustainability. Check out a graph of UMass Lowell's progress.
Hannaford has a long history of being a responsible corporate citizen, being the first supermarket in the world to achieve Platinum LEED at its Augusta, Maine store in 2009. In 2012, Hannaford launched the "Moving to Zero Waste" program for its stores, focusing on engaging store associates in reducing waste, increasing recycling and mitigating Hannaford's environmental footprint. Each of the 26 stores in MA has a Sustainability Champion and Sustainability teams that review recycling standard practices and engage all associates; see a pic of a team here. The Champions are trained in the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy and have worked to manage excess food waste in advance of the Commercial Food Waste ban. In 2014, all MA stores have food donation programs in place and have diverted 1,600 tons of food waste to compost; check out signage about their compost efforts here. In addition, Hannaford has tied waste metrics into everyday Store Manager's goals; Managers track pounds of waste per $1,000 sale dollars, which has resulted in a reduction of waste volume by 30%. Here's an example of some of their tracking signs. Hannaford's latest initiative is pursuing and obtaining the Grocery Stewardship Certification, which involves a comprehensive review of waste and recycling practices and demonstrates how green Hannaford's practices are at their stores. At the end of 2014, Hannaford's recycling rate was 80.37%, and Hannaford has the goal of being above 90% by 2020.
Public Servant Award
Mayor Kim Driscoll of the City of Salem has put her community on the forefront of green initiatives in Massachusetts. Whenever a worthwhile new recycling program is recommended or introduced, Salem is one of the first communities to take the lead. Mayor Driscoll has driven residential recycling by introducing the City's first weekly voluntary recycling program as part of the City's trash collection contract in 2008, then introducing a mandatory recycling ordinance passed by the City Council that requires residents to set out recycling with their trash at least once very two weeks, and even including e-waste collection in the newest trash collection contract. Mayor Driscoll also introduced the City's first solar-operated "Big Belly" recycling kiosks to increase public space recycling. In 2014, Salem began a curbside composting pilot funded by MassDEP, which already has 1,000 registrants. Salem is also one of the first in the nation to pioneer cigarette butt recycling this past fall, and it is the first in New England to partner with TerraCycle on the innovative endeavor to minimize one of the most common forms of litter off streets and sidewalks. Mayor Driscoll also formed Salem's first recycling committee, SalemRecycles, which has driven many other local initiatives. Throughout her efforts, Mayor Driscoll has been committed to transparency, ensuring that all contracts for trash, recycling, compost and e-waste are publicly bid. Mayor Driscoll has been an outstanding leader for recycling and sustainability in Salem and the Commonwealth.