April 22nd marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970-- Earth Day. As efforts are made to make a difference on this one day, there are still easy changes you can make throughout the year to help out environment. And in Newton, the Department of Public Works created an Environmental Affairs division to "maintain and protect the environment through education and outreach programs, the collection and disposal of wastes, conservation of natural resources, and planning for the future environmental needs of the people who live, work and do business in the City of Newton." With the help of this division, Newton residents are living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and for the third year in a row, the City's recycling rate is above 50%.
Here's what you need to know about the Environmental Affairs division of the Newton Government.
Newton Recycling Depot
Auburndale, MA 02466
Monday-Saturday 7:30 am-2:30 pm
Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Proof of Newton residency required
Goals, Functions, and Responsibilities
According to the Environmental Affairs website, the goals of the division are
To collect and dispose of wastes to meet or exceed regulatory requirements
To promote integrated solid waste management through appropriate use of recycling and resource recovery
To provide citizens comprehensive environmental planning
To serve as a technical resource on environmental issues
To make the most of our diverse human resources through teamwork, training, individual development, and personal communication
The major responsibilities of the Division include
- Refuse collection and disposal
- Products recycling
- Stormwater quality management education
- Environmental management systems
- Remediation and regulatory planning to include program coordination, regulatory analysis, legislation, and program planning and evaluation
Yard Waste Collection
In order to participate, place your yard waste in paper yard waste bags or barrels labeled, "YARD WASTE ONLY". They must be at the curb no later than 7 am on your collection day, or as early as 4 pm the day before. Click here to see what your collection day is.
Yard waste includes
- Grass clippings
- Tree leaves
- Tree and shrub pruning
- Wood chips
- Small vegetables
- Flower plants
- Other vegetative matter
For branches and limbs (6 inches or less in diameter), tie in bundles that are less than 4 feet long and 3 feet in diameter with rope or twine.
- No plastic bags
- Branches must not protrude from barrel
- Bag or barrel must not exceed 50 pounds or 50 gallons
- Bundle must not exceed 50 pounds
- Do not use yard waste bags for trash
- Do not use wire to bundle
- No tree stumps or branches greater than 6 inches in diameter (if they exceed, please call a private hauler)
- No dirt, sand, rocks, asphalt, brick, or concrete in bags or barrels
For more information on Yard Waste and Composting, click here.
Water conservation is one of the greatest and easiest ways for residents to make a difference in their environment. There are more than 326 million trillion gallons of water on Earth, but less than 3% of all this water is fresh water, with more than 2/3 found in ice caps and glaciers.
With the average household in the US using about 250 gallons per day, water might one day become scarce. But by changing some habits (like taking shorter showers or turning the water off while brushing your teeth), or even adopting greater habits (like installing rain barrels to capture the run-off) water conservation can greatly alter the future of our Earth.
Newton has become involved in the 2014 Rain Barrel Program, which offers rain barrels to collect rainwater runoff. And the City of Newton DPW is selling rain barrels to residents at 40% off retail. These barrels can be purchased for $69 online at www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com. The Great American Rain Barrel can hold up to 60 gallons and is 39 inches tall and 24 inches in diameter. It is fully repurposed, comes with a hard top, wide mouth, removable lid, screen, a plastic spigot threaded for hose connection, two overflow valves and a choice between two ports to place your spigot.
The Save the Rain Diverter is made of galvanized steel and comes in two sizes to fit any residential downspout, metal or plastic. It can be used with a barrel to trap water safely and efficiently from your downspout.
You can pick up your barrel Saturday, April 27th from 9am- 11am at the Recycling Depot at Rumford Avenue.
The average US household contains 15 pounds of hazardous products, such as pesticides, cleaners, paints, and used motor oil. Using and disposing of these products is crucial to maintaining the health of our bodies and environment.
The household hazardous waste drop-offs resume Wednesday, May 15th from 7:30am- 12:30pm. Click here for the remaining 2014 schedule.
Items that are accepted year round at the Recycling Depot include
- Rechargeable batteries (nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride) and silver oxide, mercuric oxide, lithium button batteries, and automotive batteries
- Devices containing mercury (fluorescent bulbs, thermostats, switches, thermometers)
- Empty propane tanks, motor oil, antifreeze
- Paints, stains, polyurethane (clean and reusable interior/exterior oil or latex)
- Used motor oil, oil filters, transmission fluid, and antifreeze
- Empty propane tanks
- Freon containing appliances (refrigerators, air conditions, and dehumidifiers)
Items that are accepted seasonally include
- Paint exchange: paints, stains, polyurethane (clean and reusable interior/exterior oil or latex), unexpired shellac
- Product reuse shed: household cleaners, fertilizers, weed killers
What not to bring
- Latex paint (dry out and place with trash)
- Empty aerosol cans (recycle curbside)
- Commercial/industrial waste
- Compressed gas cylinders
- Ammunition, fireworks, explosives
- Prescription medicines
- Syringes (accepted at City Hall and the Health Department)
- Infectious/biological wastes
- Propane, butane, other flammable gases
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke detectors (place in trash)
- Construction materials
- Radioactive waste
- Empty or non-hazardous materials
- Tires, PCBs
For more information on managing household hazardous products, click here.
Held the third Friday and Saturday of each month at the Recycling Depot from 8am- 12pm, residents can bring old electronics (anything with a plug!) for recycling free of charge. Computer monitors and TVs are accepted or $12 each. Business and Non-profits are also welcome.
April 19 and 20
May 17 and 18
June 14 and 15
For more details on these drop-off options, or to request a curbside pick up, click here.
Single Stream Recycling
Recycling could not have gotten easier! All paper products, flattened cardboard, plastic bottles, metal cans, and glass can be put in one container...no more separating!
What to include in your green cart
- Paper products
- Paper (not contaminated with food), newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone books
- Colored paper
- Paperboard (cereal and shoe boxes)
- Hard and soft cover books
- Junk mail, envelopes
- All plastic bottles with an opening smaller than the base (leave caps on)
- Plastic food tubs (yogurt, margarine, etc)
- Food jars (peanut butter, mayonnaise, etc)
- Glass bottles and jars
- Aluminum (pie plates, trays, foil)
- Clean metal cans (tin/steel/aluminum, empty aerosol)
- Milk and juice cartons
- Bleach, detergent, shampoo bottles
What not to include
- Plastic bags
- Plastic utensils
- Bulky plastic, like chairs, toys, buckets, storage containers (These can be recycled at the Dept)
- Flower pots and garden plastics (These can be recycled in rigid plastics container at the Depot)
- Windows, dishes, ceramics, pyrex, or light bulbs (Compact fluorescents can be recycled at the Depot)
- Fabric (clothing can be donated at the Recycling Depot)
- Foam packaging, Styrofoam (packing peanuts can be reused and clean, dry Styrofoam can be recycled at the Depot)
- Paper plates, napkins, paper towels, or tissues (place in trash)
- Recyclables with food waste (place in trash)
How to set your cart out for collection
- Park it: on collection day, simply wheel your carts to the curb by 7 am, or as early as 4 pm the day before
- Point it: the carts must be within 3 feet of the curb with wheels and handle facing your house (make sure lid opens toward the street). All trash (blue cart) and recycling (green cart) must be placed in the cart. No material outside the cart will be collected
- Space it: the cart must be at least 4 feet from objects (including parked cars, fire hydrants, telephone poles, trees, bulky waste, other carts, mail boxes, etc). If possible, please do not park on the street on your collection day
Check out the recycling brochure here.
More on Recycling and Trash
To schedule a bulky item pick up, click here.
To find out collection days for your address, click here.
For the street sweeping schedule, click here.
For trash collection guidelines, click here.
Green Bin Newsletter
You can subscribe to The Green Bin, the Newton recycling newsletter here. You will receive up-to-date information on Newton's recycling program.
Saturday, April 26: Rain Barrel Sale at the Recycling Depot
Saturday, April 26: Medication Take Back
May 5-10: International Compost Awareness Week
Wednesday, May 7 and Saturday, May 10: Compost Facility Tour at the Resource Recovery Center
Thursday, May 8: Home Composting Workshop at City Hall
For more events and the full calendar, click here