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Boston Officially Moves Forward with Zero Waste, Hires Consultant and Forms Advisory Committee

The city of Boston has moved forward with its zero waste plan by hiring a consultant. The city announced last spring that it would be pursuing a zero waste plan and spending up to $150,000 for consultants to review current waste operations, including identifying cost savings and efficiency opportunities. A request for bids was put out in May; now, Boston has hired MA-based Perlmutter Associates, with a consulting team that includes the Center for EcoTechnology, Zero Waste Associates, Kessler Consulting, Sound Resource Management, Eureka Recycling, Gainer and Associates and RRS, according to Waste Dive.

Boston has pulled together a Zero Waste Advisory Committee, co-chaired by the chief of streets and chief of environment, energy and open space. Committee membership is still being finalized.

The preliminary zero waste planning process started in late 2015 with support of the Zero Waste Boston coalition, formally known as Boston Recycling Coalition. Zero Waste Boston, in partnership with the city, hosted a Zero Waste Summit in April 2016 with a broad range of stakeholders, including experts from three cities that already adopted zero waste plans – Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Boston Leads


The city’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh is considered a leader in the move to curb carbon pollution and climate change. A recent report from the Center for American Progress and the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, A Framework for Local Action on Climate Change: 9 Ways Mayors Can Build Resilient and Just Cities, featured efforts by Mayor Walsh and highlighted the progress being made in Boston under his leadership. In addition to zero waste, some of the city’s action plans include:

  • Climate Ready Boston: a climate preparedness strategy that presents a thorough analysis of Boston’s climate risks and describes the initiatives the City and its partners should undertake to manage these risks. Climate Ready Boston presents five layers of initiatives to create a more climate-ready city: 1) a climate-projection consensus to underpin decision making, 2) empowered communities that are prepared for risks, 3) protected shores, 4) resilient infrastructure, and 5) adapted buildings.
  • Climate Ready Boston Leaders: a pilot outreach program to train members of the Boston community on how to talk about the impacts of climate change in their backyards and supports their efforts to facilitate conversations on climate change with neighbors. More than 70 leaders have been trained and then hosted more than 30 discussions across the city, reaching over 500 people.
  • Greenovate Boston: an initiative to get all Bostonians involved in eliminating pollution. Through the Greenovate Neighborhoods program, Boston is strengthening its network of invested stakeholders of the Climate Action Plan. Greenovate Boston also connect residents with energy efficiency tips and resources, and reached more than 40,000 Bostonians to date.
  • Boston Community Energy Study: explores the potential for local energy generation, district energy and microgrids.
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