Mayor Martin J. Walsh announces Boston’s first-ever zero waste plan, designed to move Boston towards becoming a zero waste city. The recommendations include 30 near- and long-term strategies for reducing both consumption of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. Key parts of the plan include expanding Boston’s composting program, increasing access to recycling opportunities and launching a city-wide education campaign on recycling.

By implementing the strategies over time, Boston can reduce trash, and increase recycling and composting by about 638,000 tons per year, increasing Boston’s current recycling rate from approximately 25 percent to 80 percent by 2035. Approximately six percent of Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the City’s discarded materials. By reducing waste, recycling more, and composting, Boston can reduce emissions associated with waste and move one step closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Preparing Boston for climate change means ensuring our city is sustainable, both now and in the future,” said Mayor Walsh. “We need to lead, and design city policies that work for our residents, and for the environment and world we depend upon. These initiatives will lead Boston towards becoming a zero waste city, and invest in the future of residents and generations to come.”

The new initiatives are included in a set of recommendations by the Zero Waste Boston Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Walsh last year. The committee, led jointly by the Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation and the Chief of Environment, Energy & Open Space, was tasked with developing recommendations of short- and long-term policies and programs that would lead to major reductions of solid waste in all sectors of the Boston community. The committee was supported by staff from the Public Works and Environment Departments and a team of experts including Perlmutter Associates, Zero Waste Associates, and the Center for EcoTechnology.

“We’re devoting significant resources to achieve both our short and long term goals and ensure our City is more sustainable for decades to come,” said Chief of Streets and Zero Waste Co-Chair, Chris Osgood. “By implementing these recommendations, there is no doubt that Boston can achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a Zero Waste City.”

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