Single Stream Recycling in Cambridge and Medford

recycling barrelSingle Stream Recycling in Cambridge and Medford  Big changes are coming to the recycling programs in Cambridge and Medford as both cities implement single stream recycling.

Arlington has had single stream recycling since earlier this year.  Somerville is debuting a single stream recycling pilot progam in part of Ward 5 beginning this month.

Single stream recycling is meant to make recycling easier and to increase the amount of waste that is recycled rather than put in the trash.  Instead of separating paper and cardboard  from your cans and bottles you will now be able to put all recyclables in one container.

There’s lots of info on each city’s website – even videos – I watched three videos as I gathered information for this post. Who knew recylcing could be so much fun?

My only concern about these programs is that the big, new recycling barrels could become eyesores. I lived for a few years in New Hampshire – the land of dumpster as lawn ornament. Many people had contracts with local trash hauling companies and the dumpsters were permanent fixtures in plain sight in their yards.  Perish the thought of a parade of big, plastic bins in city yards.

Cambridge Single Stream Recycling

Single stream recycling begins in Cambridge on October 25th. New large wheeled recycling toters are being delivered to Cambridge households this week and next. If you don’t have room for the large toter / barrel you may continue using your blue bin or convert a plastic trash can with a Recycle sticker available from the DPW. 

Starting with your recycling pickup for the week of October 25th all of your recycling can be combined in one container. There is more information on the Cambridge DPW’s website.

New items that can now be recycled in Cambridge:

  • clean pizza boxes
  • large plastics such as toys, pails and laundry baskets
  • frozen food boxes (if they can be ripped)
  • empty paper coffee cups
  • bagged shredded paper
  • spiral cans (I think they mean the tall skinny ones that hold chips or nuts)

Medford Single Stream Recycling

Medford is making several changes that are clearly intended to make residents pay more attention to what they bring to the curb. It’s all too easy to pile up our castoffs at the curb and have them magically disappear. Those days are numbered.

Single stream recycling begins in Medford on November 1, 2010. Starting this week, the City will be delivering two new wheeled carts to Medford homes – a 64 gallon trash barrel and a 96 gallon recycling barrel.  A program guide with more information about the new program will also be delivered.

Both the trash and recycle carts will have lids – a super idea that should cut down on fly away trash on breezy days.

As of November 1st all trash has to be placed inside your new barrel.  Details are forthcoming in the program guide but it sounds as though you will pay for overflow bags or to rent an additional trash container.

Also effective November 1st, bulk goods such as furniture, mattresses, etc will be picked up by reservation only.  A pickup will have to be scheduled with Waste Management by calling 1-800-972-4545.  As of July 1, 2011 there will be a fee charged for bulk items.

Categories: Living Here
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Solar Trash Cans In Arlington

New Solar Trash Compactor In Arlington

New Solar Trash Compactor In Arlington

Solar Trash Cans In Arlington  Have you noticed the new trash cans in Arlington?

These are actually solar trash compactors.  As part of Arlington’s Green Communities designation, the town recieved five Big Big Belly solar trash compactors that have been placed around town.

The compactor is totally driven by solar power and is able to hold five times as much trash as a regular trash can – cutting truck pickups by as much as 80%.  The trash can is completely enclosed which will keep out pests – a valuable feature in an urban environment.

The solar compactors are also used in Newton, Boston and Somerville.  In Arlington the new trash cans can be found at the Jason Street entrance to Menotomy Rocks Park, at Robbins Farm Park on Eastern Ave, and on Mass Ave at Medford St, at Park Ave and near Dag’s Delicatessen.

Categories: Living Here
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Losing Our Cool

Losing Our Cool by Stan Cox

Losing Our Cool by Stan Cox

Losing Our Cool by Stan Cox.  The spate of hot weather is really testing my belief that you don’t need air conditioning in Massachusetts.

The weather this year is an aberration.  We’ve had temperatures above normal almost every day since February according to my dad the weather buff.

We won’t be getting air conditioning, however, and my resolve is strengthened by Stan Cox’s new book – Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer).

I just bought the book so can’t give the whole review but believe me – Cox is very persuasive.  We were toying with the idea of getting A/C for the second floor until I heard Stan Cox interviewed on NPR.  My neighbor heard the same segment – and drove back to the store to return the two A/C units in her trunk that she had just purchased.

Losing Our Cool describes the rapid growth in air conditioning – and the Northeast is leading the way – and the impact it is having on the environment and on our energy use.  Bottom line – it’s not sustainable.

Cox advocates traditional cooling methods that pre-date the relatively recent introduction of air conditioning.  Open windows, porches, shades, fans, etc.  I’ll vouch for the difference a small fan blowing directly on me makes – who knew?!

Now if we could bring back vent windows in cars…


PS – I can’t resist a mini rant – There is nothing “green” about a building in Massachusetts with air conditioning. It makes me crazy when I see buildings touted as “green” that have central air.

Categories: Everything Else
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Lights Out In Cambridge And Somerville

starsIt’s lights out in Cambridge and Somerville tonight in the fourth annual Earth Hour.

The two cities, and many other communities, are taking part in Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lights in city buildings this evening for one hour beginning at 8:30 pm. 

Earth Hour is a show of commitment and a call for action on climate change.

Truth be told I think it’s great if – for only an hour – we could minimize light pollution.  Sometimes when I come home at night it seems as light as late afternoon – no need for a light outside my door – I can see just fine.  When my parents lived for a while in New Hampshire I was dazzled by the sight of the Milky Way outside their house at night.  Finally I was able to  see the stars I remember gazing at as a child.

So – join millions and flip the switch at 8:30 tonight. You’ll be in good company – the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Parthenon, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben, the Las Vegas strip, and Mount Rushmore will all be dousing the lights.

Categories: Living Here
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Get A Bargain On A Rain Barrel For Your Garden

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Conserve water and save money with a rain barrel

Get a Bargain on a Rain Barrel for Your Garden     Hard as it is to imagine, given all the recent rain, there’ll come a time this summer when you’ll need to water your garden or lawn. 

It’s amazing how high your water bill can climb in the summer when you’re watering outdoors.  A rain barrel collects water from your gutters and stores it, under cover, to be used for irrigation.  Hook a hose up to the barrel and you can make use of the water when you need it and prevent rain water from running into the sewer system.

Rain Barrel Discounts For Cambridge and Nearby Towns

A number of Massachusetts towns and cities offer a discount on rain barrels in the spring.  The regular price for the recycled plastic barrel is $119.95.

Rain barrels can be ordered online, and details for each town’s program are available on the New England Rain Barrel Company website where you can click on your town or city’s name for details about the program offered in your area.

Here are the discounts available and the order deadlines for local towns:

  • Arlington– rain barrels are $74.95 and must be ordered by Monday, May 17, 2010 to get the discount. Composters are also available for $89.95, a $40 discount, if ordered by May 17th. The first 40 Arlington residents who purchase a composter will get an additional $35 discount – now that’s a deal!

  • Cambridge – residents can purchase a rain barrel for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, May 14, 2010

  • Medford – residents get a discounted price of $74.95 through the Mystic River Watershed Association if orders are placed by Thursday, May 27, 2010

  • Somerville– rain barrels can be purchased for $74.95 and composters are available for $89.95, a $40 discount. Orders must be placed by Monday, May 3, 2010 to buy at the discounted price.

  • Watertown – barrels are available for $74.95 if ordered by Friday, April 23, 2010.

Get a bargain on a rain barrel for your garden – check out the New England Rain Barrel Company.

Categories: Area Info
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Every House Is Green On St. Patrick’s Day

Green House in North Cambridge

Green House in North Cambridge

Every House Is Green On St. Patrick’s Day    In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we’re going to give Cambridge and Somerville green houses their day in the sun.  Yes – it’s sunny!! after a long, rainy siege.

No – these aren’t necessarily energy efficient houses – these are green houses – painted in shades of green. Minty green, bright green, park bench green and the muted, earthy shades of green that are popular nowadays.

Green houses in Cambridge and Somerville come in a variety of styles – two families, Victorians, mansards, modern townhouses and lots of triple-deckers.

Whatever the style – on St. Patrick’s Day every house is green.

Or orange.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Centers and Squares.

Categories: Everything Else
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The Story Of Stuff

Annie Leonard, from The Story of Stuff Project, was on the Stephen Colbert show tonight promoting her new book about the project.

I’ve got to confess to being a lifelong fan of stuff. I’m a collector – some might say packrat – and really like my stuff.  Why have one of something when five or six or a dozen is so much more satisfying?  George Carlin’s routine about stuff where he describes our houses as piles of stuff with roofs on top hit pretty close to home.

I’m reforming, though, and in December celebrated my third anniversary of being storage-unit free.   Admittedly that’s due in large part to an attic crammed to the rafters  – but still – it’s an improvement.

What appeals to me though is typically second-hand if not antique. Our throw-away culture worries me and the endless array of stunningly cheap imported merchandise that fills big box stores gives me the willies.

Nowadays it’s too easy to buy and buy and put the week’s trash out at the curb. Too little thought is paid to how all that stuff gets here and where it goes when discarded.

Annie Leonard spent ten years studying just that- “where our stuff comes from and where it goes” and this video is the result.  Watch it and pass it on!

Categories: Everything Else
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Fresh Pond Greenway – Condos at 773 Concord Ave Cambridge

Fresh Pond Greenway Condos - 773 Concord Avenue, Cambridge

Fresh Pond Greenway Condos - 773 Concord Avenue, Cambridge MA

Fresh Pond Greenway at 773 Concord Avenue, Cambridge MA is a 25-unit condo building built in 2006. The four-story building was built to Energy Star standards. You’re sure to save on your energy bills here since the building is 30% better insulated than required by state building codes.

Cambridge real estate buyers will appreciate the access to Fresh Pond Reservation across the street and the proximity to the Red Line subway station at Alewife. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, a movie theatre, and more are nearby.

Fresh Pond Greenway Features

  • One to three-bedroom condos, 680-1449 sq.ft.
  • Elevator
  • Garage parking and guest parking
  • In unit washer and dryer
  • Central air conditioning
  • Eco friendly dual flush toilets (the first time toilets have made my features lists!!)
  • Kitchens with granite counters, stainless steel Energy Star appliances, and shaker style maple cabinets
  • Pet friendly
  • Outside common area for grilling

Condo Sales at 773 Concord Ave Cambridge MA – Fresh Pond Greenway

  • Fresh Pond Greenway condos sold for prices between $282,500 and $584,000.
  • In 2008, a 686 sq.ft. one-bedroom condo sold for $287,000
  • In 2008, a 1427 sq.ft. three-bedroom condo sold for $500,000

More Cambridge Condominiums

Cambridge Condos With Swimming Pools 

Newport Road Condos in Porter Square

The Chocolate Factory

 And if you want more – click on the Property Info link below for lots more condo overviews.

The Fresh Pond Greenway condos are at 773 Concord Avenue, Cambridge Mass 02138.

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