Blog Post

The City of Boston announced the release of its first zero waste plan in June, 2019 as reported by Recycling Today. This plan recommends over two dozen short-term and long-term strategies to reduce waste in multiple sectors of the city. Boston’s Zero Waste Advisory Committee included representatives from local institutions, businesses, and industry associations. The committee was supported by a team of technical and facilitation experts, including Perlmutter Associates, Zero Waste Associates, and the Center for EcoTechnology, which administers the RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) program for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Boston businesses and institutions generate four-fifths of all municipal solid waste in the City of Boston. This equates to 916,000 tons per year, of which 232,000 tons are currently diverted from disposal. A few of the proposed strategies to reduce the waste generated from Boston businesses and institutions include:

  • Supporting and expanding businesses that can reuse, recycle, or compost the 75 percent of materials in the trash that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Expanding commercial composting by promoting the collection of food and food-soiled paper from businesses and institutions, and encouraging haulers to provide organics collection services.
  • Supporting local business development and the creation of new jobs linked to waste reduction.
  • Developing and requiring use of best practice guidelines for public events and large venues.
  • Providing community and business grants for waste reduction, reuse, repair, recycling, and composting outreach and business development.

The plan also includes tactics to mitigate residential waste, such as expanding yard and food waste collection opportunities and introducing additional educational tools to help residents and businesses alike understand how and what materials to recycle. One of these efforts is an educational campaign called Recycle Right, informed by the MassDEP Recycle Smart MA initiative, which includes a searchable database and list of materials that should and should not be collected for recycling.

RecyclingWorks supports Boston’s zero waste plan by providing resources and identifying recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion opportunities for Massachusetts businesses and institutions. To learn more about our no-cost technical assistance, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at