Waste: It is the “W” in PFEWG!

PFEWG™ How We Feel About “Waste”

The Cambridge Public School Department is committed to reducing the volume of waste generated, reusing and upcycling products that do not need to be thrown away, and recycling waste daily in all classrooms and offices. We aim to expand composting to all schools, continue to dispose of building materials in an environmentally sustainable way, and to continue to recycle all materials that fall under the City’s recycling program. We also aim to reduce the volume of waste we generate by educating students and staff through weekly sustainability e-news and via our website, providing resources on ways to minimize wastefulness, for example, by printing double-sided to save paper.

What’s Happening Now!

Single-Stream Recycling
Currently, all schools have single-stream recycling in place, thanks to a great partnership with the Department of Public Works (DPW), whose contractor picks up our recyclables each week. The single-stream recycling program allows many different types of materials to go into one collection bin.

paper_recycling.jpgMaterials that fall under the single-stream recycling collection criteria include: empty aerosol cans, aluminum cans/trays/foil, glass bottles & jars, metal cans, milk cartons & juice boxes, large plastics (buckets, laundry baskets, toys), spiral cans (potato chips/nuts), books (rip off hard covers), cardboard boxes, paper coffee cups, frozen food boxes, cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, phone books, junk mail, empty pizza boxes, newspapers, magazines & catalogs, shredded paper, white & colored paper, and wrapping paper. The process is very simple and straightforward because people can recycle all of these items by placing them in the same container.

Styrofoam trays and bowls are collected in the lunchroom for recycling through the Boston Public Schools’ STRIVE Program. Fluorescent light bulbs, CRTs, electronics, non-alkaline batteries, ink and toner cartridges, and other miscellaneous items are collected for recycling. Chemicals and other household hazardous waste are handled for proper disposal.

Composting is in place at several schools in partnership with the DPW, and we are working on expanding our composting programs to include every school in the district. We are focused on minimizing trash waste at high-frequency times such as the end of the school year when teachers are cleaning out classrooms. Through weekly sustainability e-news and via our website we are providing resources on ways to minimize wastefulness by offering tips, tools, and resources on how to minimize trash production and use recycling and donation options.

Click here to read more about the PFEWG™ Model for Sustainability.