Watertown Reduced Trash by More than 1,000 Tons in 2022

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Watertown DPW Watertown’s compost, trash and recycling toters.

The following information was provided by the Department of Public Works:

Happy New Year! 2022 was a big year for waste reduction in Watertown. We implemented new
programs to help achieve the newly ratified Massachusetts 2030 waste goals. This landmark
masterplan set the objective of municipalities reducing the amount of waste they send for disposal by 30% by 2030. Watertown’s tonnage reduction is being tracked based on the City’s 2019 tonnage of 8,760 tons of waste sent for disposal.

Across the country, the majority of municipalities saw an increase in their trash tonnage due to Covid and residents staying home more between 2020-2021. However, in 2022, the City
reduced its total trash tonnage from 9,518 tons in 2021 to 8,581 tons in 2022, which means we are below even our pre-covid tonnages! This decrease is a very tangible measurement of our positive progress towards overall waste reduction!

Here are some reasons why our trash decreased:

  1. Watertown introduced our new Free Curbside Compost program to help residents divert food waste out of their trash. As of January 2023, there are 2,000 households signed up for curbside compost, and expansion is continuing to happen right now! If you are interested in joining the program, please sign up at: https://blackearthcompost.com/watertown/
  2. . Since the Compost program began in July, 2022 Watertown has diverted roughly 200 tons of food waste away from incineration. These food scraps will be given a second life and turned into nutrient-rich compost.
  3. Textiles Recovery Program: Watertown is in its second year of textile recycling. The City averages around 1,900 pounds of diverted textiles per month! Helpsy is able to salvage nearly 95% of all textiles recovered for resale or reuse.
  4. Watertown residents have already recycled a total of 70 mattresses/box springs (5,043 lbs.) since the Massachusetts
    waste ban came into effect November, 1st 2022.
  5. With the goal of promoting reuse, Watertown implemented a payto dispose program for bulk burnable items. This transition encouraged residents to sell, donate or gift useable items before resorting to disposal.

In 2023, we hope that you will help us continue promoting reuse, recycling, and trash reduction. You can help by:

  1. Encouraging a neighbor to recycle more or start free composting. Almost 50% of Watertown’s trash is recyclable or compostable.
  2. Committing to bring scrap metal and e-waste to the Recycle Center and scheduling textiles for home pick-up.
  3. Reducing and reusing more: Bring a reusable bag, opt out of utensils/napkins/etc when getting take-out, and consider giving away or selling usable items online, using Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing Watertown or Nextdoor.
  4. When considering buying a new item, first look and see if you can buy it second hand, or even better, from someone in Watertown!

For more information on waste reduction programs in Watertown, please visit: www.watertown-ma.gov/zerowaste

2 thoughts on “Watertown Reduced Trash by More than 1,000 Tons in 2022

  1. While you wait for a plan for composting to be picked up, you can compost now by bringing compostables to the Recycle Center which is open Tues, Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm. This is picked up by Black Earth, so you can put the same things in there that’d you’d put in the Black Earth bin

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