June 2014 Recycling eNewsletter


Household Hazardous Waste Day 6/7
HHW collection this Saturday June 7 from 9am-1pm. NEW LOCATION: Volpe Transportation Building Parking Lot (55 Broadway). ** Access from Third St at Munroe St. Cambridge residents only, bring proof of residency. We accept auto fluids, batteries (non alkaline), car tires, glues, medications, mercury items, paint products, solvents, and propane tanks (20 lbs. or less). If the product label includes the words POISON, DANGER, WARNING, or CAUTION, bring to HHW day. Click here for more info including alternative options and what you can bring to the Recycling Center during open hours. Upcoming HHW Days for 2014 are August 23 and October 4.

Property Managers: if you’re bringing more than 25 pounds or 25 gallons from a Cambridge residential building or if you have no proof of residency, please email recycle@cambridgema.gov in advance.

Fruit & Veggie Tips & 6/23 Workshop
Make your fruits and veggies last longer to reduce waste and save money!

Store Inside the fridge: apples, berries, cherries, grapes, kiwi, lemons, oranges, almost all vegetables & herbs. After ripening at room temperature: apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes. Outside the fridge: Store in a cool place: bananas, mangos, papayas and pineapples. Store in a cool, dark place: potatoes & onions. Basil & winter squashes: store at room temperature – once cut, store squashes in fridge.

If you like your fruit at room temperature, take what you’ll eat for the day out of the fridge in the morning. Many fruits give off gases that hasten the spoilage of other produce. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves and store fruits and vegetables in different bins. Check out storage bags and containers designed to help extend the life of your produce. To prevent mold, wash berries just before eating. For some really great videos on reducing food waste from our friends in Seattle, click here.

6/23 Free Workshop: Learn to compost and reduce food waste. June 23, at 6:15pm at DPW, 147 Hampshire St.

Digging Into Your Plastic Questions
In general, all stiff plastics are accepted for curbside recycling. Empty and rinse containers to remove food residue, but they don’t need to be squeaky clean. The recycling sorting process is highly mechanized using optical sorting technology and air jets strategically placed along fast moving conveyor belts to sort different plastics. Plastic bags are not accepted curbside as they jam the equipment causing costly delays. Leave caps and lids on, so they are captured during sorting. Metal lids on jars pop off in the glass breaker and magnets grab them. After sorting, 2000 pound bales of plastics are sold to processors start their next life as a new product. Bales must meet strict limits on contaminants. Secondary processors then shred, wash, dry, pelletize and resell the plastic to manufacturers. Recycled plastic is used in new products such as fleece wear, plastic lumber, carpet, and new plastic containers.

Plastics NOT accepted curbside include plastic bags, Styrofoam, electronics and brittle plastics that crack such as CD cases. #1-#7 numbers on many containers indicate the type of plastic resin, a coding system developed almost 30 years ago for manufacturers. The most common, and easily recycled plastic household containers are #1 and #2, making up 75% of all plastics in curbside recycling. #6 is foam polystyrene and not accepted simply because it’s bulky and lightweight making it uneconomic to collect, market, and transport. Plus the sorting machines shred it, creating a mess. #7 is a miscellaneous category, some are bio-plastics made from plants and not petroleum and for now, should NOT be recycled. This is a new technology and most recyclers consider it a contaminant and worry it could harm the economics of recycling conventional plastics. Know that stiff plastics with no number such as buckets, broken laundry baskets and toys are accepted curbside. Items smaller than a pill bottle or plastic utensils tend to fall off the conveyor, but sometimes they do get captured.

Help Spread the Word about the 4R’s
Join the fun and volunteer at a community event and talk to fellow residents about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (compost)! Help recruit residents to sign up for this newsletter. We’d love to hit 10,000 on our email list this summer! You can enjoy the atmosphere, educate folks and get a free t-shirt. Email recycle@cambridgema.gov if you can help for 2-3 hours at:

• 6/14 (rain date 6/21): Hoyt Field, Hoops ‘N’ Health (10am – 8pm)
• 6/15: Annual Family Day, Lowell Street Park (10am – 5pm)
• 6/22: Day of Portugal Parade & Sidewalk Fair, St. Anthony’s Church Yard (1pm – 3pm)
• 6/27: City Dance Party, Mass. Ave. by City Hall (7-11pm)
o Area 4: 6/30-8/13, Mon & Wed, 10am-Noon, Green Rose Heritage Park on Harvard St near Izzy's
o Area 4: 7/8-8/7, Tue & Thu 10am-Noon, Sennott Park on Broadway at Norfolk
o East Cambridge: 7/7-8/13, Mon, Wed & Fri, 10am-Noon, Ahern Park behind Kennedy-Longfellow School
o Cambridgeport: 7/8-8/8, Tue-Fri, 10am-Noon, Dana Park on Magazine & Corporal McTernan Streets
o Mid-Cambridge: 6/30-8/15, Mon, Wed & Fri only 10am-12 noon, Cooper Park on Hancock at Centre Streets
o Mid-Cambridge: 7/1-8/14, Tue & Thu, 10am-Noon, Maple Ave Park at Maple & Marie Ave
o Mid-Cambridge: 7/10-8/7, Thurs, 6pm-8pm, Community evening dessert potlucks
o Riverside: 6/30-8/7, Mon-Thu, 10am-Noon, Riverside Press Park on Memorial Drive at River St
o North Cambridge: 7/8-8/13, Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri, 10am-Noon, Bergin Park at Pemberton St & Yerxa Rd

Repair Café in September Seeks Volunteers
In September, we’re planning a Repair Café, a meeting place all about repairing things, together. At the Repair Café visitors can bring broken items from home and will find tools and materials to help make needed repairs on clothes, electrical appliances, bicycles, toys, furniture, etc. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs and learn during the process. We are looking for repair specialists including electricians, seamstresses, carpenters, Do-It-Yourselfers, and bicycle mechanics to volunteer their time and share their skills for 4 hours on a Saturday in September, either 9/6, 9/13 or 9/27. We're also looking for volunteers to help promote this event and help out that day. If you are a repair specialist or want to help volunteer, please click here.
Know Where to Donate Clothes?
Visit our Donate Your Stuff map of donation spots, thrift stores & consignment shops and second hand stores! Good stuff is reused, damaged stuff is recycled. You can donate clothes that are torn, stained, broken or missing something, to Goodwill, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Got Books/Clothes, and Planet Aid. They take clothing, shoes, belts, purses, hats, linens, stuffed animals, and fabric scraps. Just no dirty rags, nothing wet, nothing soiled, no carpets, no rugs, and no mildewed items. If it’s not wearable, damaged clothing is recycled into wiping rags and everything else is processed back into fibers used to make paper, yarn, insulation, carpet padding, and sound proofing.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8:00pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5:00pm
Friday: 8:30am-12 noon
24 Hour emergency 617.349.4860


Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00pm-7:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm

Owen O'Riordan