Watertown Recycling Event a “Huge Success,” People Lined the Street to Participate

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The Public Works Recycling Event on March 25 drew so many people that cars were backed up down Waltham Street with residents waiting to dispose of a variety of items, and even grab some free soil.

City Council President Mark Sideris said he was impressed by how much interest the event drew.

“What a successful recycling event we had. You couldn’t get down Waltham Street — they were waiting in line!” Siders said during a recent Council meeting. “Thank you (the the DPW). You all did great job. It was a huge success. I’ve never seen so much traffic it was amazing.” 

Along with disposing of styrofoam, mattresses, dehumidifiers and clothing, it was the first time that Watertown residents could get free soil via the City’s curbside composting program, run by Black Earth. The DPW recently announced that it will expand the composting program with 1,000 more composting bins available.

The Watertown Department of Public Works sent out the following announcement:

The March 25, 2023 Recycling event was a huge success. Thank you to everyone that showed up to recycle materials and participate in Watertown’s first soil giveaway.

Residents came out in droves on Saturday to scoop away at the enormous pile (15 yards to be exact) of Black Earth’s finished compost/soil mix! Each resident was limited to a 5 gallon bucket to start (and welcomed to return later in the afternoon for more if there was remaining soil). With residents steadily coming to the event over the full four hours, nearly six hundred 5-gallon buckets were filled and brought back to households to plant, pot, and garden with! 

The Department of Public Works is so excited to see residents ready to utilize the soil that they have been helping to create with their food scraps. The curbside compost collection program currently picks up from over 2,000 households and all of that material has been going into making local, nutrient-rich compost that has now been returned to promote local food production among residents.

The soil giveaway was open to all residents, not just those who are part of the food waste collection program. Hopefully, seeing the tangible benefits of diverting food scraps inspires more Watertown residents to sign up for curbside collection. At least ten residents who came for soil signed up on the spot!  Residents that cannot participate in curbside collection (due to their building size), can still drop off food waste for free at the recycle center (open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday).

The Department of Public Works was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to buy residential compost bins to help expand our program. Those bins have just recently been delivered and will be distributed to newly enrolled households starting in April. Residents are encouraged to enroll now for an April, 2023 start! To do so, visit: blackearthcompost.com/watertown/ or call 978-290-4610. 

In addition to a very successful soil giveaway, the recycling event saw hundreds and hundreds of residents show up to responsibly recycle several different items/materials. Some highlights from the event in numbers:

• 46 mattresses collected for recycling

• 52 dehumidifiers turned-in for recycling

• One entire tractor trailer filled with Styrofoam, ready for recycling

• 3,108 lbs of textiles collected for reuse and recycling

• 75 cart loads of paper collected for shredding and recycling

• Over 90 pounds of caps/lids collected to go towards our recycled plastic bench

Way to go, Watertown!

For more information and questions, please visit www.watertown-ma.gov/zerowaste or email Anya Pforzheimer, the recycling Coordinator at recycle@watertown-ma.gov 

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