HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO OUR FRIENDS
We’re Still Recycling, Right? The New Rules of Recycling
By Eve Waterfall
The Green Committee of the Beacon Hill Civic Association has advocated greater recycling in the City of Boston for years. When we heard rumors that our separated recyclables might be getting trashed instead, we had to get to the bottom of it. Could this possibly be true?!
The short answer is no – Boston still recycles through the Casella recycling plant just over the river in Charlestown where recyclables are sorted and packaged for resale. The longer answer is that we now need to be a little cleaner with our recyclables.
As early as 2013, China as the largest importer of plastic recyclables began to restrict its processing of dirty plastics. In 2018, these limitations were rolled out in earnest, severely limiting the amount of dirty recyclables that the United States could export. Practically this means that while Boston still runs its recycling through the Charlestown plant, each time there is a load with high ‘contamination’ such as remaining food waste or single use plastic bags, our cost to recycle goes up as the plant brings on more labor to clean up our mess.
By giving dirty containers a quick rinse or wipe, and keeping up to date with the list of curbside recyclable items (see https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/recycling-boston), we can help keep our recycling flowing and our costs lower. Remember, no single use plastic bags (being phased out anyway), styrofoam, tangly things (string, hoses, etc.), food, or anything else that will gum up the conveyor belt. Check out the new Boston Trash and Alert Scheduler on the App Store for an easy way to check the list of recyclables, yard waste, and trash schedules.
Next on the City’s agenda, a Zero Waste initiative is being studied. Stay tuned hopefully for compostables and other environmentally friendly waste initiatives in the future.
Giving Back to our Community
This holiday season, the BHCA is collecting items for two local organizations important to the Beacon Hill community.
For Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, we are collecting new and gently-used coats, boots and backpacks. Of special need this season are children’s coats, boots and backpacks. We are also collecting new gloves, hats, socks, underwear and balaclavas (hooded facemasks). Donation checks made payable to “Boston Healthcare for the Homeless” are also welcome. Boston Healthcare for the Homeless was founded over 30 years ago and provides outreach and health and dental services to the city’s homeless population. Its founder, Dr. Jim O’Connell, will be speaking about Health Care in the Streets: Lessons from Three Decades of Caring for Beacon Hill’s Rough Sleepers on Thursday evening, Jan. 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the BHCA.
For the West End Library Food Pantry, we are collecting nonperishable food items (popular items include cereal, tea and peanut butter). Grocery store gift cards are also greatly appreciated. A collaboration with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), the West End Library Food Pantry serves Beacon Hill and West End low income residents and elderly.
We’ll be collecting items from Jan. 2 through Jan. 31. Items can be dropped off weekdays at the BHCA, 74 Joy St. Items for the food pantry can also be dropped off year round at the West End Library at 151 Cambridge Street. Thank you in advance for your contributions!
Upcoming BHCA Meetings
The BHCA office will be closed from Monday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Health Care in the Streets: Lessons from Three Decades of Caring for Boston’s Rough Sleepers with Dr. Jim O’Connell – Thursday, Jan. 17, 7-8:30pm, 74 Joy St.
47th Annual Beacon Hill Gala – Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Omni Parker House
Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website www.bhcivic.org or call the office (617-227-1922) for more information on any of these events.