Environmental Home Remodeling: Recycling and Composting

This article was recommended by Carlisle School 5th grader Sarah Mathews who is recycling and composting in Carlisle

In the United States, approximately 70% of everyday waste is recyclable. Of this 70%, Americans only recycle about 30%. This means that more than half of the waste that could be recycled in one way or another is instead ending up in landfills across the country. Landfills are quickly becoming overfilled with waste that cannot simply disintegrate in the landfill within our lifetimes. One plastic water bottle, for instance, takes around 450 years to disintegrate.


• Traditional Methods of Recycling – Plastic, Glass

• Getting Creative with Recycling – Clothes, Freecycle, Make Art

• Composting

• Worm Composting

• More Recycling Resources

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Carlisle ranks 179th with Mean Household Waste 37% higher than the State Average

wasteThe April 2013 release of the MassDEP’s 2010-2020 Solid Waste Master Plan, Pathway to Zero Waste, provides a perfect opportunity to reassess how Carlisle is doing in the area of waste management and recycling. 2012 data from the MassDEP allows a comparison with towns across the state as a starting point in that assessment.

Since recycling programs vary significantly from municipality to municipality, the MassDEP considers annual tons of trash per household (Tons/Hh) the most relevant metric for waste data. Tons/Hh refers to the total tons of waste for any given year that a municipality sends for disposal – minus recycled items and hazardous waste – divided by households served by a town.

Of the 200 municipalities (roughly 57% of the 351 municipalities) in the state that submitted the required data by the time of this article, Carlisle with 1.1 Tons/Hh a year ranks 179th. By comparison, Lincoln, similar to Carlisle in size, demographics, and recycling program, ranks 38th. Additionally, Carlisle’s waste tonnage is 37% higher than the state average of .8 Tons/Hh.

Data: Weighted averages from sample loads of in-state waste sent to six Massachusetts incinerators. Municipal Waste combustor Class II Recycling Program Waste Characterization Studies, February & March 2011, MassDEP.

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Carton Recycling Now Available at the Transfer Station

cartonsGot Milk (Cartons)?

Refrigerated cartons for milk, juice, cream, egg substitutes, soy, grain or nut milks can now be accepted as recyclable items at the Transfer Station. Rinsed and flattened refrigerated cartons should be included with plastic recyclables and deposited in the large plastics container at the Transfer Station for proper processing. Please be sure to recycle only refrigerated cartons; tetra paks (shelf stable cartons with aluminum layer) are NOT recyclable in our area at this time.

The Makeup of a Refrigerated Carton

Cartons are mainly made from paper in the form of paperboard, as well as thin layers of polyethylene (plastic). Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. The paperboard in refrigerated cartons is considered high value recycling stock because it is free of print.

By recycling your refrigerated cartons, you’ll be keeping these items out of the trash, reducing waste tonnage destined for the incinerator and conserving valuable resources. Remember, it’s not waste until it’s wasted!


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