Boston, MA: Zero Waste Task Force Puts Recycling on Leaders' Agenda:
Goal to increase rates

Boston is a national leader on many fronts: education, the information economy, healthcare, and green buildings. Yet when it comes to recycling, Boston lags behind other major cities, stagnating well below 30% for much of the past decade, and far below the statewide rate of 44%. We know that 90% of what we currently throw away is readily recyclable and compostable -- all we need is the political will to make it happen. And that’s why over the last year, Toxics Action Center joined MassCOSH, Boston Workers Alliance, and others to launch the Boston Recycling Coalition, a groundbreaking new effort to overhaul the way Boston manages its waste and foster a just green economy. Our goals are to increase recycling rates to 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2030 and increase recycling in a way that generates good quality jobs, reduces pollution, protects worker safety, preserves resources, and protects community health.

In June, we launched a Zero Waste Task Force to build collaboration among Boston's businesses, government, community leaders, labor organizations, and constituencies traditionally not at the table to support recycling policy planning and implementation. With Mayor Menino retiring this fall and an open mayoral race for the first time in two decades, our plan is to put zero waste and recycling on the agenda.