In September of 2002, the City embarked upon a Source Reduction Program, funded largely by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Source reduction, a new focus in waste management, aims to reduce the amount and toxicity of waste that goes into the waste stream. The project is designed to encourage city and school employees, residents, and businesses to find ways to consume and throw away less.
How to Reduce Waste in Municipal Government: A Guide to Source Reduction (PDF file, 973 KB)
Americans are the most wasteful residents on the planet, we throw away:
- 4 pounds of trash per person per day, a rate that has doubled since 1950
- enough aluminum cans every 3 months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
- 28 billion pounds of food waste - more than McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King combined sell each day.
- enough glass bottles and jars every week to fill a giant skyscraper.
In 2005, Newton residents threw out 58,427 tons of waste, 47% of which was recycled. The City spends about $6 million per year to manage the waste stream.
The benefits of source reduction are many, including: reducing the amount of trash that has to be managed, thereby reducing waste disposal and management costs; reducing the use of non-renewable natural resources; reducing air and water pollution; and preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations.
Some of the accomplishments of the City’s source reduction program include:
- formation of an interdepartmental team to educate and involve municipal and school employees
- adoption of a Source Reduction Policy
- creation of goals and actions that include: reducing paper, reducing junk mail, increasing recycling, and reducing the use of toxic chemicals
- distribution of educational materials targeting employees, residents, and businesses
- organizing the first Pollution Prevention Day, a city-wide environmental education event
- implementing a campaign to Reduce Junk Mail
What Is Source Reduction?
An Ounce of Prevention
Junk your Junk Mail
Waste that is not produced, does not need to be managed.