Each year, more than 1.5 billion bottles of water and other non-carbonated beverages are sold in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of those containers are recycled. The remainder is buried or burned in solid waste incinerators as litter. That’s enough plastic bottles to fill Fenway Park – from the press box to the Green Monster – five times.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is continually working to reduce waste through increased recycling and composting. Recycling is the process of turning used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially valuable resources. It reduces the consumption of fresh raw materials, energy usage, and air and water pollution.
About 95 percent of Massachusetts municipalities offer residents opportunities to recycle. Through the Bottle Bill, a program designed to encourage citizens to return their empty bottles by means of a redeemable $0.05 deposit, recycle rates have doubledfor carbonated beverage containers. The Commonwealth’s recycling industry employs 14,000 people and expects to provide more job opportunities in the future.
How You Can Help
- Determine what common household items you can recycle, such as bottles and cans.
- Find out whether your community collects recyclables at the curb or at a drop-off center.
- Request home recycling bins from your municipality’s recycling program or convert your trash can to a recycling bin with a recycling sticker.
- Divide bottles, cans, and other recyclables in designated bins to prevent higher labor costs due to rigorous sorting requirements.
- Prepare for recycle days by checking your neighborhood’s collection schedule.
- Return your bottles and cans at a local redemption center and receive financial compensation.
- Apply to open your own redemption center and help Massachusetts save $7 million in avoided waste and recycling collection costs.
- Teach future generations about the benefits of recycling through kid activities provided by MassDEP.
- Enroll your business in the Massachusetts WasteWise Program to set company goals to reduce waste and cut costs.
If each resident takes small steps to recycle, big results can occur. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to improving the environment in Massachusetts.
Let us know how you began recycling by tweeting us: @MassGov.
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