Disposing of waste is a small share of community emissions.  Composting organics and recycling glass, plastics, mattresses, electronics and textiles prevents many tons of waste from going to the landfill or incinerator where emissions are generated. 

However, the best way to reduce emissions from waste is to not generate waste at all. Selecting products that are re-usable instead of single use and making use of sharing, exchange or borrowing opportunities all help to reduce the amount of waste generated.

Reducing the amount of waste generated by re-use and sharing has the potential to have an even greater impact on reducing emissions. Although they are not measured in the City’s GHG emissions inventory, there are GHG emissions generated as products are manufactured and transported to consumers. Reducing the volume of products used reduces the emissions generated in the manufacture and transport of the products.

Recycling and Composting

These strategies help to ensure that waste is diverted away from the landfill, and into recycling or organics streams. Recycling can generate useful materials, which reduces the need to extract new raw materials for manufacturing. Organics can be used to generate energy, reducing the need to extract and use raw energy.

Implement a standard trash container Zero Waste Master Plan
Implement a 'hybrid' pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program
Zero Waste Master Plan
Expand organics collection for residential and commercial customers Zero Waste Master Plan & Envision Cambridge
Mandate residential and restaurant front-of-house food waste diversion Zero Waste Master Plan & Envision Cambridge
Mandate and enforce small commercial food waste diversion Zero Waste Master Plan & Envision Cambridge
Require building-scale waste prevention and management plans Envision Cambridge
Maximize recycling rates across all sectors by stepping up education and enforcement Envision Cambridge
Develop commercial waste zones (franchising)with reporting requirements Envision Cambridge
Implement a mattress recycling program Zero Waste Master Plan
Implement textile collection and recycling Zero Waste Master Plan

Source Reduction and Reuse

These strategies reduce waste by encouraging re-use and sharing of products. This prevents them going to the landfill where they generate emissions. 

Support sharing libraries Zero Waste Master Plan
Support reuse events  Zero Waste Master Plan
Explore opportunities for waste exchange, including a Resource Recovery Center Zero Waste Master Plan & Envision Cambridge
Develop a food waste reduction strategy Zero Waste Master Plan & Envision Cambridge

Sustainable Materials Management

Coming Soon!

Advocate for State-wide Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs and policies Zero Waste Master Plan
Implement lifecycle assessment for municipal purchasing  *New*