Congratulations to the Finalists for the 20th Annual Recycling Awards! The MassRecycle Board of Directors reviewed all submitted nominations and selected the finalists. It was not easy! Some categories were differentiated by mere fractions of a point! All the nominees should be proud of their work and try again next year.
But now it is YOUR turn to vote and select the winners for the 20th Annual Recycling Awards! Be sure to tell your friends and associates to vote and also visit our Facebook page for additional chances to vote!
NOTE - the results shown on this page only make up part of the score and are not the final ranks. Score tallies from the Facebook page vote will be added to these scores to determine final winners!
Courtney Forrester has volunteered for numerous leadership roles including attending SWAC meetings, restarting the Mass Product Stewardship Council, volunteering to help with awards for MassRecycle, presenting at R3 Conference on outreach and school recycling, and household hazardous waste. She has done an exemplary job on her website and has shared her resources with other recycling coordinators. She issues an electronic newsletter to residents and maintains an email list of residents who care about recycling. She works with Green Decade group in Newton on projects such as applying a permanent label to the 30,000 curbside Recycling carts with information on what to recycle and what not to recycle in the carts in order to maximize recycling and minimize contamination. She works with 24 schools to ensure they all recycle all SSR including cartons, and works with the Green Teams when asked. She has held compost awareness weeks to promote the City's compost facility which includes a home composting workshop and giveaways of finished compost. Check out Courtney's website here.
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.
Gunther has overseen a massive change in the trash and recycling program in Lowell (doubling recycling, reducing trash tonnage by 15,000 tons per year) and has developed an impressive outreach program for the City of Lowell using cable TV programs, radio shows, bi-weekly newspaper articles, email contacts, a very active website, and has pioneered the use of cell-phone outreach technology. He has also been active in growing the recycling program in Lowell, adding an enforcement coordinator, getting volunteers to help staff the office, working with schools and restaurants on organics diversion, and helping with conferences on College and University Sustainability. He also works with college interns, one of which started the UTEC mattress recycling program, and two of which started the UMass Lowell cafeteria food waste diversion program, now involving all cafeterias on campus. In addition, Gunther served as the chair of the Northeast Municipal Recycling Council for three years, bringing together municipal recycling coordinators regularly. Check out how much Gunther's efforts have reduced Lowell's municipal solid waste and increased recycling.
City of Lynn
The City of Lynn moved away from an “unlimited” system of trash collection that was yielding a 7% recycling diversion rate by implementing a two-cart system for collection of trash and recycling along with a fee based bulk item program. Prior to the new program, Lynn was generating an average of 2,757 tons per month of solid waste and 213 tons per month of recycling. In just the first two months following implementation, solid waste has been reduced by 32% to 1,881 tons per month and recycling has increased 134% to 499 tons per month. Diversion has improved from 7% to 21%. The City implemented a robust educational campaign to drive improvements in recycling. It included a video produce by the local cable access organization, public school presentations and a direct mail campaign. Check out the City's website with the video here and the City's recycling guide here. Recycling carts were equipped with in mold labels in the lids to allow resident to be reminded every day what can be recycled. The new two cart system has created a shift from a throw away culture to one that has embraced a vibrant recycling society.
Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea
The Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea was one of the first in the state to adopt Pay As You Throw in 1991 and in 2009 further streamlined the program by switching from stickers to bags. In 2009, Manchester implemented district wide single stream recycling and food waste composting. Green Scholars from the schools were instrumental in passage of a Town by-law prohibiting use of plastic bags, making Manchester the third in the state to do so. In 2013, residents and the school Green Team proposed curbside food waste collection to the Selectmen, resulting in the formation of the all volunteer Manchester Compost Committee. The Committee collaborated with the Town to move single stream recycling to weekly from biweekly and to launch weekly organics collection starting in April 2014. A local Eagle Scout troop even helped distribute the 2,285 compost carts. During the first 8 full months, trash has gone down 7% and recycling up 14%. More gains can be made, as participation is at about 25%, so the Committee is launching a compost awareness campaign and convinced the Selectmen to move trash collection to every other week. Check out Manchester's compost flyer and tonnages.
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.
Belmont School District
Two years ago, only paper was recycled in classrooms of the Belmont School District. Since then, the schools have improved recycling by placing recycling bins for plastics in classrooms, placing a 10 cubic yard cardboard container next to the high school dumpster, and getting power washers via a Carton Council Grant to clean the recycling carts. The elementary and middle schools have launched lunchroom and kitchen recycling, as well as milk carton recycling, and the elementary schools recently ran a six-week Tray-less Thursday pilot program. Elementary school students even taught their parents about the problems with recycling plastic film curbside via the Trex Plastic Bag Challenge. Parents and teachers have formed green committees and come together as a larger Belmont PTA/PTO Green Alliance, with Mary Beth Calnan pushing out information via a monthly column in each school's newsletter. Their efforts have earned the District awards including second place in the national Green Cup Energy Challenge for Wellington School, grand prizewinner from MassDEP's Green Team, and honors from EEA. Check out Belmont's Action Plan and their before and after overview.
Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (EMK), one of several Horace Mann Charter Schools in the Boston Public School system, is a long standing member of MassDEP's Green Team. The students, who largely led the recycling efforts, created signs and posters to promote recycling. They collected approximately 10,000 pounds of paper last year, 600 lunch trays, 44 ink cartridges and 100 poster boards from the EMK Science Fair. At the end of the year, the student recycling team even diverted class binders. In the last few years, EMK went beyond and began recycling small drinking pouches like those made by Capri Sun. The school receives 0.2 cents for every pouch, which goes into scholarships. Students also organized a campaign to collect lightly used jeans and donate them to homeless teenagers in Boston, successfully collecting 45 used jeans last year. Currently, students plan to expand their recycling program to include composting. Check out the EMK students in front of their posters.
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.
College of the Holy Cross
College of the Holy Cross has pushed beyond traditional paper recycling to become a pioneer in areas like organics diversion. In 2014, Holy Cross completed converting an old storage area into a refrigerated organics recycling room that will help the College to surpass the 165 tons of organics they recycled in 2014. Holy Cross has eliminated polystyrene containers in the main dining hall, made filtered and tap water available as alternatives to bottled water, sells reusable beverage containers, and offers refills at a discount. Students are also strongly encouraged to use reusable bags. The College also manages an active composting program that generates approximately 700 yards of compost for use in flower and plant beds. The Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO) is a student driven environmental group working to educate the community on environmental issues including the sustainable dining solutions. The students and the College also focus on many sustainability efforts beyond recycling such as using mulching mowers, buying local fair trade coffee, buying renewable energy from TransCanada, requiring all appliances be Energy Star rated, and even seeking LEED silver certification for all new major construction and renovations.
Lesley University's three campuses feature four dining facilities - two full halls with reusable tableware and two cafes with compostable tableware. Since 2009, Lesley's recycling rate has steadily increased to 35% but began plateauing in 2012. To reach 50% by 2016, the University identified three opportunities - reducing food waste, increasing accessibility, and eliminating trash bins. Lesley worked with dining services vendor, Bon Appetit, to reduce serving pan size, resulting in less leftovers and a decrease in compost and trash tonnage by 25%. The inaccessible recycling dumpster was replaced with a recycling compactor right next to the trash compactor. Casella fronted the cost of the compactor, so the University needed to reduce trash more than 6.5 tons per month to cover the cost of the compactor. New bins, funded by a Keep America Beautiful grant, were placed in residence halls, and resident advisers and orientation leaders were trained to help students prioritize recycling. The University also removed trash bins that were not matched with recycling bins, resulting in reducing 1,000 gallons of trash volume while adding 1,000 gallons of recycling. These efforts resulted in a 11 tons per month reduction in trash, exceeding the 6.5 goal, plus an increase in composting of 31% and recycling of 25%, for an overall recycling rate of 44% in just one year. These changes also resulted in a net positive cash flow.
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.
Cisco’s NEDC campus's Waste Reduction and Recycling Program is a key aspect of Cisco's ISO 14001 certification and Cisco's Environmental policy. Cisco is continually expanding beyond traditional recycables to include packaging materials, batteries, media, confidential waste, wood/pallets, expanded plastics, compost, and landscaping grass clippings. The landscaping grass clippings and debris is turned and used as loam to give away to employees and for the campus gardens. Cisco has reduced waste pick-ups and decreased tonnage by replacing dumpsters with compactors and by adding composting bins in all break rooms and the cafe; the compostables from the facility are turned into high grade compost used by golf courses around the state. Check out pics of their compost here and here. Cisco has also reduced the company-supplied bottled water and instead offers pure, filtered water. Cisco Systems continues to focus on educating employees on proper recycling via approaches like "how to" recycling videos and Stall Street Journal entries, monthly newsletters posted on restroom stalls for "easy reading". Plus, the Composting and Mini-Binny Programs keep things front of mind for employees. The success of the NEDC campus is now being replicated at other Cisco sites across the country and in Canada. Cisco's diversion rate has gone from 15% in 2005 to 84% in 2014.
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.
The Lenox Hotel, named by Trip Advisor as one of the top ten green hotels of 2014, has implemented many green initiatives from guest room recycling to beekeeping under the guidance of the Director of Sustainability for the Saunders Hotel Group, Scot Hopps. Most recently, the Lenox began diverting food waste for composting. After working with RecyclingWorks to consider various methods, the Lenox opted for conventional composting. Due to the downtown location, the collection program had to be clean and pest free, so the hauler, Renewable Waste Solutions, proposed lined, locking 64 gallon carts. At the start of collection, 250 lbs. of prep and plate food waste was being diverted, surprising Chef Sean MacAlpine, who has since utilized reduction methods with his staff. Returned customer plates are scraped into accessible containers with simple signage to remind the staff to properly sort the materials. Check out the setup here and the signage here. To meet the challenge of adapting a new diversion program to an existing multi-level building, smaller containers are filled at the centrally located kitchen then brought up a flight of stairs for consolidation into larger containers outside for removal to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus. The Lenox diverts 1.5 to 2 tons of food waste each week, allowing the hotel to reduce trash pickup from twice to once per week, and then down to on-demand in October. This diversion saves the Lenox approximately $164 per month.
Public Servant Award
Timothy Deschamps is the Executive Director of the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP), a project created by the State Legislature in 1973. Since Earth Day 2010, Timothy and the CMMCP has been running a source reduction program, aka "tire recycling". The program is a value added service to CMMCP's 40 member communities. Since its inception, the program reached the goal of 10,000 tires recycled by Earth Day 2013 and currently has reached 14,391 tires or 143.91 tons. This program eliminates used tires from the environment by bringing them to a recycling facility in Littleton and reduces larval mosquito habitat for several mosquito species that may carry West Nile Virus. Removing the tires also saves 240 man hours annually by reducing the need for monitoring these habitats and also removes 900 pounds of pesticide. The program is successful through a combination of roadside cleanups, curbside pickup for residents, large tire pile cleanup and coordination with member communities for Earth Day events and hazardous waste collections. The program is unique among 8 other mosquito control programs and earned an "Environmental Merit Award" from EPA Region 1, seen here, and a "Citation for Outstanding Performance" from the Commonwealth in 2014, seen here.
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.