Most of us try and do the right thing by recycling water bottles, take-out containers, and other plastic packaging.
And in Newton, Watertown, and other communities, many of our restaurants have scrambled to find (costly) white or clear plastic takeout containers after residents were told (less expensive) black plastic containers can’t be recycled.
But turns out that the majority of the plastic we put into recycling bins ends up in landfills, according to a report from Greenpeace.
For example, while 52% of recycling facilities in the U.S. accept plastic marked with a Number 5, less than 5% of it is actually repurposed.
Not even soda bottles, one of the most prolific items thrown into recycling bins, meets the threshold to be called "recyclable,” reports NPR's Laura Sullivan.
"More plastic is being produced, and an even smaller percentage of it is being recycled," said Greenpeace’s Lisa Ramsden. "The crisis just gets worse and worse."
Waste management experts say plastic is expensive to collect and sort. There are now thousands of different types of plastic. None of them can be melted down together. Plastic also degrades after one or two uses. Greenpeace found the more plastic is reused the more toxic it becomes.
"Villainizing the recycling industry is short-sighted," Waneta Trabert, Newton's director of Sustainable Materials Management, wrote in an email sent to the chamber seeking input.
"Seeding doubt and mistrust among the public is only going to insure more plastic gets tossed in the trash. And until laws are passed to eliminate bad plastics, put a deposit on all beverage containers including wine and spirits, pass comprehensive EPR and fund collection infrastructure in developing nations, they’re making the plastics problem worse."
New food waste rules will impact hundreds of restaurants
Starting today, restaurants and other businesses that generate more than a half-ton of food or other organic waste must compost or otherwise divert those materials, instead of sending them to a landfill or incinerator.
Roughly 2,000 supermarkets, hospitals, hotels, colleges, and food manufacturers, processors, and distributors that disposed of at least one ton of food waste annually were already subject to these state rules.
Hundreds of smaller manufacturers, supermarkets, hotels, nursing homes and residential facilities, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and correctional facilities may also be impacted.
Ban on tossing mattresses, textiles, and shoes starts today too
Also starting today, it's illegal for any of us to toss mattresses, textiles, or shoes into the trash in Massachusetts.
The Department of Environmental Protection will not “enforce upon or fine” individual residents who violate the ban, but will enforce it with businesses, institutions, municipalities, and waste haulers, according to the Globe.
These things are also happening today
Along with new waste reduction rules, Nov. 1 is also the deadline or start date for several other things:
Starting today, Massachusetts taxpayers will start receiving their share of that $3 billion tax refund deposited directly into bank accounts. Here’s why yours could take longer.
It's also the last day for employers to register for the first-ever New England Regional Job Fair, happening virtually on Nov. 15 & 16. It’s free for qualifying New England-based and operating companies.
If you’ve ever intentionally -- or unintentionally -- received a free month by bringing your car in for an inspection a few days after the deadline, as of today you’re out of luck.
Today’s also the final day to register to attend the Climate Summit in Needham on Nov. 10 from 8:30 am to noon hosted by Congressman Jake Auchincloss. RSVP.
Needham poised to pull off a stunning land acquisition
After a heated debate last week, Needham Town Meeting agreed to move forward on a proposal that would preserve a breathtaking stretch of 34 acres along and near the Charles River for walking trails and other recreational opportunities.
The unique agreement allows the town to acquire all 34 acres for a mere $2.5 million. (Yes, $2.5 million, that's not a typo!)
It would also open the way for Northland Residential to purchase an abutting 28 acres for about $18.5 million for the creation of 70 units of senior housing with an affordable component.Map here. Prior Globe story here.
The revamped bus routes still need approval from the T board and it will require hiring more than 750 new bus drivers – something employers know isn't easy these days.
The revision looks to boost bus trip frequency by 25 percent over a five-year rollout, with areas such as Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Lynn, Roxbury, and Dorchester all gaining more frequent bus service.
But some of our communities that depend on workers from those and other communities are in line to lose service. So are commuters looking to get to Boston without a car.
“We think the Revised Bus Network Map is better than the MBTA’s previous proposal from last spring,” Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller wrote in her Friday newsletter.
Fuller applauded the plans to maintain the Route 505 bus and add service back to Adams Street and Crafts Street, among other changes.
“Unfortunately, Newton’s Express Bus network is still seriously compromised,” she added.
“For many residents and employees, we think that these changes will totally change the longstanding convenience of using public transportation to travel between the northern half of Newton and Boston without the need to transfer between vehicles.”
That's nothing compared to Massachusetts' hospitals which are looking to fill 19,000 full-time positions statewide, according to a new report.
The highest vacancy rate (56%) was for licensed practical nurses. High vacancy rates were also reported for pulmonary function technicians (35%), home health aides (34%), mental health workers/technicians (32%), and infection control nurses (26%).
"Our healthcare system has never been more fragile, and its leaders have never been more concerned about what's to come in the months ahead,” said Steve Walsh, president, and CEO of Mass Hospital Association. (State House News)
More need to knows
The BBJ has published a list of 25 Massachusetts ZIP Codes with the highest median annual income. Newton has three and Wellesley has two. Needham is included too.
The SBA is organizing a Veterans Business Support Workshop virtually Wednesday (Nov. 2) at 9 a.m. Learn about free support services available to help you start and grow your veteran-owned business.
Looking for skilled and committed workers? The Mass Rehabilitation Commission is hosting a virtual symposium designed to help employers learn about hiring individuals in recovery from substance use disorders in the labor market tomorrow (Nov. 2) at 10 a.m. Details
Time's running out to participate in Rotary Club of Newton’s “Dinner On Us", with a chance to win a grand prize of 25 $100 gift cards to Newton restaurants. Enter by Nov. 8
Mass Growth Capital’s Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program offers small businesses in Massachusetts financial assistance with their acquisition, expansion, improvement, or lease of a facility, purchase or lease of equipment, or with meeting other capital needs for the business. Watch this webinar to learn more.
Major bio facility opens in Watertown, one along I-95 gets financing
Harvard, MIT, a real estate firm, two life science companies, and four local hospitals pitched in $75 million to launch the 44,000 square-foot facility, writes Ryan Cross at the Globe.
And Developer Greatland Realty Partners and its partner have landed up to $150 million in financing for their conversion of Liberty Mutual’s former office complex along I-95 in Weston into 340,000 square feet of space to be branded Riverside Labs, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.
The first of three buildings there should be move-in ready by the summer of 2024.
Thanks to everyone who made last Friday a success
We’re still buzzing from last Friday's Fall Business Breakfast – our largest annual event -- back for the first time in person since 2019.
It was gratifying to be joined by nearly 400 longtime friends and first-time acquaintances from across our chamber communities and beyond.
Congratulations to Linda Sloane Kay, recipient of our R.L. Tennant Award (in the photo with presenter Mark Sokoll) in recognition of her dedication to the economic and cultural vitality of our communities through her role at Century Bank and on the Chamber board. Special thanks to our featured speaker Jeff Speck for another thought-provoking and entertaining talk.
Whew...that was a lot of news for one morning, eh?
That’s Need to Knows for today unless you need to know about the famous Dutch painting that’s been hanging upside down in various museums for 75 years and why they won’t be turning it right side up now.
P.S. I didn't forget. I haven't lost track. And I'm not going to stop counting: It's now been three months -- 92 days -- since the Massachusetts Legislature recessed with taking no action on that economic development bill.