public works department

2012 December Recycling ENewsletter

12/5/2012

Yard Waste Ends Next Week and Christmas Tree Dec 31-Jan 11

Separate yard waste collection continues through December 10-14 and begins again the week of April 1st. Place yard waste in paper refuse bags or loose in barrels. No plastic bags. Click here for materials accepted. For stickers, use our online form or call 617-349-4800. Pumpkins can go in with yard waste. Remember, if you hire a contractor, they are responsible for removing yard waste. Curbside collection of Christmas trees (remove ALL decorations) will be December 31-January 11, weather permitting.

Green Gift Ideas

Reducing waste is especially important during the holiday season. Consider these tips: 

  • Not all gifts need to come in a box; give your loved ones an experience. Avoid extra packaging and give something memorable. Some favorite gift ideas include: tickets to a concert, play, museum or sports game, art or dance classes, a massage, a car sharing membership, or even a gift to charity. You can even give a gift your own time by making dinner, babysitting, washing a car, or cleaning out a garage or attic. 
  • Find a perfect, unique gift in an unexpected place like at an antique store, flea market, or even a nursery. Avoid the hustle and bustle of the mall and peruse antique stores, consignment shops, and thrift stores for one of a kind gifts. Seeds and potted plants are gifts that last all year, and help clean our air. 
  • Consider making your gift. Some good ideas: frame a special photo, give a basket full of home-made baked goods, book of recipes, family calendar, or re-pot clippings from your favorite houseplants. 
  • When it’s time to wrap your gifts, look for paper that is made from post-consumer recycled content, or better yet look around the house for even more unique options. Why buy new wrapping paper when you can make your own? Kids’ drawings, old maps, newspaper comics, and even reusable bags can make your gift stand out.

What to Do With Packaging…

  • Bubble Wrap and Air Pockets: Recycle with plastic bags at the Recycling Center during open hours. Bags must be empty, clean, and dry. Review accepted items here
  • Cardboard Boxes: Be sure boxes going to the curb for recycling are empty of any Styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic air pockets, etc. 
  • Styrofoam Peanuts: Bring Styrofoam peanuts to a UPS Store for reuse or to the Recycling Center during open hours. 
  • Blister Packaging: Hard clear plastic form packaging can be recycled in the curbside program.


Love Food Hate Waste

From farm to fork, Americans waste 40% of their food. In addition to the economic and ethical ramifications, this waste has far-reaching environmental impacts. Each person creates at least a half-pound of food waste a day. Whatever food you love, you can reduce waste and save money. Here are some great tips:

  • Plan Ahead. Make a shopping list and check your fridge and cupboards first for what you have and what you actually need to buy. Don’t be tempted by offers and don’t shop when you are hungry, you’ll end up buying more. Don’t buy produce that often goes unused. Put newer groceries behind the old ones. 
  • Make it Last. Store fruits and most vegetables in a loosely tied plastic bag in the fridge to maintain quality and delay ripening. Store potatoes in a paper bag. Make smoothies from fruit going soft and soup from vegetables starting to wilt. Soak droopy greens in cold water for 30 minutes to freshen them up. Use your freezer for sliced bread and batch cook foods to meals are ready for busy evenings when you are too tired to cook. Freeze milk before you go away to preserve it. 
  • Right Size Portions. Serve small amounts, it’s easy to take seconds, but we should clear our plate first. Love your leftovers – they make a great lunch or a base for a new meal. Try halving recipes or ordering from the appetizer menu at restaurants if you don’t like leftovers. 
  • Expiration exasperation. Trust your senses before you rely on the package date. Sell-by dates are aimed at retailers and leave about a week for consumers to enjoy an item at home. And best-by is less stringent than use-by. 
  • For more info and ideas, visit www.wastedfood.comwww.lovefoodhatewaste.com, and www.nrdc.org/food/wasted-food.asp

Share Spray: A New Way to Do Everything

Check out this short video from the Center for the American Dream. In it, a woman gets a surprise visit from her Sharey Godmother (yes, they exist!), who hands her a can of... Share Spray. With creativity, charm, and a bit of fun, what follows next in the video is an exploration of how sharing could transform our lives and neighborhoods. Consider sharing cars with RelayRides, swap clothing at an upcoming Swapaholics event, or give stuff and get stuff on FreeCycle.


Recycling FAQ: How Clean Should Containers Be?

Empty glass, metal and plastic containers are accepted for curbside recycling. Please make sure containers are basically free from food residue because these materials are sold to make new products. The cleaner your containers, the more they’re worth in the recyclables market. This is especially important now that containers and paper products are placed in the same bin. For example, paper covered in tomato sauce is contaminated and compromises quality. But, you do not need to put containers in your dishwasher. For peanut butter tubs, try to scrape it out and eat it… otherwise just squirt a little dish soap, fill with warm water, let it sit, then the next day shake and pour it out. For shampoo bottles, laundry detergent, lotions, etc. just try to use as much as possible and recycle the container. Did you know that recycling actually saves water because we are reducing the need for virgin raw materials and therefore reduces water used during these avoided stages of extraction and manufacturing.

Visiting City Hall

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA, 02139
Ph: 617-349-4000
TTY: 617-349-4242

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

City Department Directory

Richard C. Rossi
City Manager

Lisa C. Peterson
Deputy City Manager